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Tongan language very unique

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 22/02/2019

A renowned linguist in Tonga stresses the significance of the Tongan language because of its uniqueness and value compared to other languages, as  the United Nations is declaring 2019 as The Year of Indigenous Languages in order to raise awareness of its importance.

Director of TTI – Rev. Dr ‘Ungatea Kata says there’s been no specific survey to verify that the Tongan language is declining in both value and content,  because most of the local institutions and establishments are emphasising the importaince of our mother tongue, particularly schools, churches and parliament.

However there’s a huge misunderstanding among some young adults in Tonga thinking that prioritizing the English language is better than their mother tongue. Dr Kata says this is a misinterpretation of the indigenous language and should be corrected.

She says parents should remind their children the value of the indigenous language because its very rich and meaningful.

Dr. Kata wants to remind the younger generation to learn English and other foreign languages but they should first  learn and know more about Tongan and make it their priority language.

Speaking one’s mother tongue tells the world who you are, where you are from and every Tongan should be proud of their identity.

Meanwhile Dr Kata urges parents to assure  that their children speak their mother tongue first  because Tongan language is not spoken or written only, but reflects other aspects of our culture that will guide them throughout their lives..

Impacts of languages, will be evident in the future, especially in  foreign countries in particular people who  claim they are Tongans but do not speak the language.  They often feel left out and unaccepted with minimal connections to their own people.

When such people have a sense of not belonging to the community, they become alienated and eventually look for something to fill the emptiness in their lives.  This is when they turn to drug and alcohol and other problems  ending in disastrous situations.

New Zealand is hosting Pacific language weeks Tongan included, to boost awareness of the value of the languages including Tongan.

© Radio and Television Tonga News