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To determine ‘proper’ spelling, grammar, usage

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May l1, 2009) – The Senate passed on final and third reading a proposed measure which will establish a Palau Language Commission to preserve the language and maintain standards for its use.

The bill was jointly introduced by Sen. Kathy Kesolei, Regina Mesebeluu, Joel Toribiong and Regis Akitaya.

The purpose of the bill is for the Palauan language to remain flexible "so it may evolve in response to the realities of cultural exchange, technological advancement, and knowledge expansion."

The commission will be handling the two goals the bill is aiming for, which is that a set of rules be established to determine the appropriate spelling of Palauan words, as well as the proper grammar and usage of the Palauan language.

The bill also noted that there should also be a procedure by which new words may be added to the official Palauan language.

These rules should be set into a curriculum that should be implemented in Palau’s schools.

The commission will be comprised of experts in Palauan language and culture, and will have the responsibility with establishing rules for the spelling of Palauan words and standards for Palauan grammar and usage.

The Commission will also be responsible for approving new words in the Palauan language, and for recommending content for a curriculum for the teaching of the Palauan language.

Membership of the commission shall be comprised of seven members, six of whom shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate of the Olbiil Era Kelulau, and one of whom shall be the Director of Curriculum of Instruction from the Ministry of Education, or his or her designee. The six members appointed by the President shall have educational or work experience related to language development and preservation.

The Commission will also be tasked with preparing and publishing, or assist in the preparation and publication of, dictionaries, books on grammar and usage, and other works on the Palauan language. The Commission shall also investigate methods for developing, preserving, and encouraging the use of the Palauan language, and report to the Olbiil Era Kelulau and the President of the Republic of Palau on its findings.

And in consultation with the Ministry of Education and private educational institutions, the Commission shall recommend content for a curriculum for the teaching of the Palauan language at all grade levels. Based on the Commission’s recommendation, the Ministry of Education shall develop and implement this language curriculum.

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