Marshallese Language Program at UHM

First Marshallese Class Will Be Offered

For the first time, beginning in fall 2011, the Mānoa Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures will be offering regular classes in Marshallese language and culture. Interest in Marshallese language and culture has been building on the Mānoa campus over the past several years, and retired Mānoa linguist Byron Bender has acted as a volunteer mentor and advisor to students who formed informal Marshallese-language study groups.

Beginning Marshallese (IP 101) will be offered as an evening class and will be dual listed with Mānoa’s Outreach College. It will be taught by Rachel Miller, a former World Teach volunteer on Namdrik Atoll, in the Marshall Islands and a 2010 MA graduate of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. Miller will be assisted by a native speaker of Marshallese.

The course will introduce students to basic language and grammar and will also include cultural content—information on family life, environmental knowledge, history, stories and legends and more. A second semester of Beginning Marshallese (IP 102) and two semesters of Intermediate Marshallese (IP 201 and IP 202) are planned for future semesters. The format of the classes will be lively and varied and will include music, food, films and guest speakers.

The introduction of Marshallese was made possible, in part, by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies Title VI National Resource Center Grant for 2010–2013. One of the primary goals of this grant is to support the teaching of less-commonly taught languages.

Source: UHM Press Release