Re: “Armarik”

The following is a comment from Richard Salvador in response to this post and I thought it deserve to have its own separate post.

Gaafar and everyone,

I apologize for the length of this reply. I hope my whole comment makes sense, as response to your concern about proper pronunciation.

I work as a Test Proctor in a Hawaii Dept of Education school. I am also a language arts teacher. I teach young adults. We use educational standards to guide our lesson planning and our teaching strategies.  We have a Standards wheel that divides language arts into 4 broad Standard areas: Communication, Decision-Making, Interpersonal, and Lifelong Learning standards. Utilizing these Standards as general guidelines, we then develop lesson plans targeting the development of practical and critical thinking skills among young folks. All our assigned textbooks provide various lessons based on Content Areas that subdivide from these 4 broad areas into teaching young peoples to be responsible people. We teach young folks to be responsible and informed Workers, Parents, and Community Members.

I say all these in order to make the point that within the Communication area (one of the 4 mentioned above), the skills identified are:
1) Read with Understanding,
2) Convey ideas in writing,
3) Speak so others can understand,
4) Listen actively, and
5) Observe critically.

I realize that American students and foreign-born US students who attend our school possess wildly different accents. I take Item#3 above (Speak so others can understand) to mean that accent means less to my teaching communication skills than to Articulation and or Enunciation.  These two words mean “to speak clearly” or “to express clearly.”
I realize that in non-English speaking places, peoples “indigenize” English and other adopted colonial languages into their speaking habits/conventions. There are two sides of this fascinating transformation of languages.

It is, of course, preferable that students learning language be conditioned to articulate their speech as native speakers do. But this is often not the case, and is less important than just being able to communicate.

I do not disagree with you because proper pronunciation is vital to all communication, whatever language one uses to communicate.

I applaud your bringing up this subject and encourage all teachers of language (palauan, tagalog, english, or whatever) to teach the basic grammar and the correct sentence structure, the idiomatic expressions, and linguistic conventions of any language so that students will adopt speaking practices that make it conducive to engaging in clear, clarifying, informative and uplifting speech. That is my ultimate goal as a teacher of language.

On another, related thing, it is useful for language arts and communicative language teachers to gather as often as is practical to discuss teaching strategies, lesson planning, and new language developments in order to hone their craft. The profession of teaching is buoyed in large part by the inspiration of gathering with your peers, testing and utilizing new strategies for teaching, for reaching out to struggling or “difficult” learners. I put “difficult” in quotes because I personally believe that all students are smart and have the inherent capacity for learning new things. They just have different ways of learning and learn at their own pace. As Harvard educational psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner has taught so many generations of teachers, there are “Multiple Intelligences.” Each individual is endowed with a different form of Intelligence that allows them to learn at their own pace. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some are tactile/kinesthetic learners, or spatial learners, or interpersonal or intrapersonal learners, etc. And we grasp concepts as our own inherent Intelligences allow us to.

Mesulang for your articles. As a Palauan living abroad and teaching in American schools, I come to these blog pages and sites to read yours, Santy Asanuma, Dr. Caleb Otto, Fuana Tmarsel, Jackson Henry, and other Palauans in order to feel inspired and renewed both in my mind and spirit! It is wonderful to see this mini-flowering of social, political, and intellectual expressions among Palauans. A generation into the future, we will look back and see this flowering of intellectual energies, this renaissance of intellect, as the foundation of a prosperous and democratically strong Belau society that different speaking conventions helped to create.

I enjoyed reading your article and got overly excited, thus the reason for this rather long reply! You are a wonderful writer! Please continue to enlighten us. I look forward to your future articles.

richard salvador

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