Palau Language Commission

August 20, 2009 at 11:03 am 4 comments

August 18, 2009
Serial No. 09-468

The Honorable Senator Mlib Tmetuchl
President of the Senate
Eighth Olbiil Era Kelulau
P.O. Box 8
Koror, Palau PW 96940

Re:    Senate Bill No. 8-53, SD1

Dear Senator Tmetuchl:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me under the Constitution of Republic of Palau, today I have signed into law Senate Bill No. 8-53, SD1, a law establishing a Palau Language Commission.  The slip law number to be assigned to the Bill will be RPPL No. 8-7.

I am very appreciative of your efforts and that of your colleagues in considering and passing this Bill.  It is a particularly timely Bill in light of two of the Constitutional amendments our people approved in November of last year.  The twenty-first amendment to the Palau Constitution requires the national government to take affirmative action to assist our traditional leaders in the preservation, protection, and promotion of, among other things, our Palauan language.  And the twenty-fifth amendment to our Constitution provides that in case of a conflict between its Palauan and English versions, the Palauan version shall prevail.  The work of the commission that this Bill creates hopefully will assist in the preservation, protection, and promotion of our Palauan language and provide the necessary guidance if a conflict in the language of the Constitution needs to be resolved.

When I received this Bill last week I asked my legal counsel to review how it might change or impact on existing law.  To my surprise, he reported to me that other than some provisions in our laws requiring certain documents to be in both the English and Palauan languages, and a sentence in RPPL No. 7-37 requiring schools receiving funds from the national government to provide their policies regarding the use of the Palauan language on their campuses, there were no existing laws changed or impacted by this Bill.

I find it curious beyond belief that our national government has never passed a similar law before.  As a Palauan, I have always been proud of the beauty and uniqueness of our language.  As an attorney, I consider language to be of the utmost importance.  To quote a famous justice of the United States Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”  Indeed, language is important to all of us.  To paraphrase something that I heard or read years ago, language is like a roadmap of our culture. It tells you where our people came from and where we are going.  Without language there would be no laws.  Without language we would not know our past and we would have no future.  We would be like a rudderless canoe afloat on the ocean allowing the currents and winds to take us wherever they deigned.  With language we know ourselves and we have control of our destiny.

I fully support the intent of this Bill and will work hard to make sure that it is a success.  I intend to instruct my Ministers to seek sources of funding for the commission.  I am already thinking about whom I will appoint to serve on the commission.

Thank you for your continuing courtesy and cooperation.  I remain

Sincerely yours,

Johnson Toribiong

August 18, 2009
Serial No. 09-469

The Honorable Delegate Noah Idechong
Speaker of the House of Delegates
Eighth Olbiil Era Kelulau
P.O. Box 8
Koror, Palau PW 96940

Re:    Senate Bill No. 8-53, SD1

Dear Speaker Idechong:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me under the Constitution of Republic of Palau, today I have signed into law Senate Bill No. 8-53, SD1, a law establishing a Palau Language Commission.  The slip law number to be assigned to the Bill will be RPPL No. 8-7.

I am very appreciative of your efforts and that of your colleagues in considering and passing this Bill.  It is a particularly timely Bill in light of two of the Constitutional amendments our people approved in November of last year.  The twenty-first amendment to the Palau Constitution requires the national government to take affirmative action to assist our traditional leaders in the preservation, protection, and promotion of, among other things, our Palauan language.  And the twenty-fifth amendment to our Constitution provides that in case of a conflict between its Palauan and English versions, the Palauan version shall prevail.  The work of the commission that this Bill creates hopefully will assist in the preservation, protection, and promotion of our Palauan language and provide the necessary guidance if a conflict in the language of the Constitution needs to be resolved.

When I received this Bill last week I asked my legal counsel to review how it might change or impact on existing law.  To my surprise, he reported to me that other than some provisions in our laws requiring certain documents to be in both the English and Palauan languages, and a sentence in RPPL No. 7-37 requiring schools receiving funds from the national government to provide their policies regarding the use of the Palauan language on their campuses, there were no existing laws changed or impacted by this Bill.

I find it curious beyond belief that our national government has never passed a similar law before.  As a Palauan, I have always been proud of the beauty and uniqueness of our language.  As an attorney, I consider language to be of the utmost importance.  To quote a famous justice of the United States Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”  Indeed, language is important to all of us.  To paraphrase something that I heard or read years ago, language is like a roadmap of our culture. It tells you where our people came from and where we are going.  Without language there would be no laws.  Without language we would not know our past and we would have no future.  We would be like a rudderless canoe afloat on the ocean allowing the currents and winds to take us wherever they deigned.  With language we know ourselves and we have control of our destiny.

I fully support the intent of this Bill and will work hard to make sure that it is a success.  I intend to instruct my Ministers to seek sources of funding for the commission.  I am already thinking about whom I will appoint to serve on the commission.

Thank you for your continuing courtesy and cooperation.  I remain

Sincerely yours,

Johnson Toribiong

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Entry filed under: Informational.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • […] a Palau Language Commission. The slip law number to be assigned to the Bill … More here: Palau Language Commission « The Belau Blog Share and […]

    Reply
  • 2. Ngiwal  |  August 31, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Mr. Obakrairur has passed away. Who will teach us our own language. Is Sen. Kesolei, will take her time and teach us our language and culture. Let’s guess who will be the best teacher that still alive… I really can’t think of one any one you know of

    Thank you

    Reply
  • 3. ngiramelangesmad  |  September 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

    ak menguiu a tekingel a Pres JT ra Marianas Varitety el mesaod er tial llach ra tekoi er Belau, ea uriul ra cheldechedechal eng mlo ousbech ra tekingel a tara mellomes el chad ra ngebard el, United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, el dilul kmo, ‘Language is the blood of the soul.” lokesiul tial llach ra tekoi er Belau.

    tiakid a tara ungil lolechotel el kmo a tekinged a mla remiid, alsekum a President JT a mesaod ra llach el mo melisiich a tekinged e ousbech a tekoi ra ngebard.

    mesubed a renguk a lousbech a tekingel a tara ra chad ra llach le ngii el chad ra llach me te diul mellomes e sekutab, eng di denguu el kuk merngak el di kantang el chad, ulekum nguluuidii tial tekoi el mo tekinged.

    mak kora omdesuang, ka mei e kulasem loleiuid er tial tekingel ngikal mellomes el chad el mo tekinged, e kemiu a kulengit me ngikel sebechel, dekaingeseu.

    Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes “Language is the Blood of the Soul”

    tekoi er Belau:

    1. a tekinged a resechel a klengar

    2. a tekoi a rsechel a klengar

    3. a tekoi a klisichel a klengar

    4. a tekinged a diua rasech ra bedenged.

    5. a tekinged a klisichel a bedenbged.

    6. a tekinged a klisiched

    ng di mle ikeikid a sebchek el mdasu e ulekum a Pres meng mo blechoel lousbech a tekinged sel longedcheduch, ngolechotel a ungil lokesiu loeak a teletael ma omeruul, ng diak dil lomelekoi.

    Ko mesulang,

    Reply
  • 4. more concerned  |  May 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Good Day To All Readers!!! First let me tell you very little but something about me!! I am a Palauan girl and Very Very Proud of it!! I am currently a junior in high school, and I belive 100 + 10% that Palauan language is fading away right before our eyes!!
    I just read “NGIRAMELANGESMAD’s” comment and I will say that is so Very right!!! Around school campus… I have come across many Palauan Students who speak english and i bearly or maybe i should say never….. hear either of them say one Palauan word! I also have a cousin whom I know speaks both palauan and english very well! but she speaks Palauan with accent! I dont know about you but, I hate and I mean HATE Palauans who do that!! I am not saying that I’m a better Palauan speaker or I know more than you do, because I myself still have a lot more Palauan words to learn! I am only saying ” MEKEDOU EDONGEL EL LEKO KEDE MEDENGEI A TKOI RNGEBARD, EA BELUU EL OM CHAD ER NGII A MO BEDUL KER A MOBES A ROKUI EL TEKOI RNGII??????”…
    Kabai mei medolasm el melisiich er tial BELAU rkid e lak mouchedongel e ngkmal diak a bom iit er ngii!
    I HOPE TO ALL READERS MNG DIAK LE SA TIANG ELE DUL UASE “NG KEKEREI EL NGALEK E NGERANG MEDENGEI!!!
    RESPECTFULLY,

    More Concerned

    Reply

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