New Website Aims To Preserve Niuean Language

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IT entrepreneur looks to add tech terms

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 8, 2012) – A Niuean Information Technology (IT) expert is using gaming and other computer programs to help preserve and teach the youth of the country more of the language.

The 1,300 people that live on Niue, a tiny island north-east of New Zealand, speak Vagahau Niue, which adopts many English technical terms.

To combat this, a website was launched last week calling on Niueans to help build an IT vocabulary.

IT entrepreneur and promoter of the website, Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program he is trying to preserve what already exists of the language, add a few new words and revive interest among young people who can carry it into the future.

"This is not just a one-off where we translate a few words and let it be seen to die a slow death," Mr. Fakaotimanava-Lui said.

"We're looking at other things in the future which revolved around creating games that could also tap into the legends of our people in Niuean."

"Eventually if we don't try to help out this way it will all fade into the past and it will just be in the museums, it’s not going to be of interest to our young people."

Mr. Fakaotimanava-Lui says people can go onto the website to provide Niuean translations of IT terms, which are then passed onto the gatekeepers of the language who will choose the ideal word.

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