NATION

Elders Work To Preserve Maumi Dialect

Next Sunday will be a momentous day for Maumi Village in Dravo, Tailevu. It is the day they launch the translation of the New Testament of the Bible. However, it
20 Jan 2019 11:29
Elders Work To Preserve Maumi Dialect
Filipe Bolauloa at his home in Maumi Village in Dravo, Tailevu, on January 19, 2019, with a photo of the late Solomone Duru Snr. Photo: Wati Talebula

Next Sunday will be a momentous day for Maumi Village in Dravo, Tailevu.

It is the day they launch the translation of the New Testament of the Bible.

However, it will be in the Nawakura dialect of the Maumi people.

The elders of the village say the project to translate the Bible into the Nawakura dialect was part of an effort to preserve their language.

The translation was possible with the partnership with the Bible Society of the South Pacific.

One of the translators, Filipe Bolauloa, 66, said it took them nine years to translate the new testament.

“In 2007 we talked with the elders of the village about the idea of translating the Bible into our dialect and they were very happy.

A few of the elders from the village were the ones translating,” he said.

“The actual translation started in 2010 with the book of James by Solomone Duru Snr, who died in 2014.

“The translation carried on until August 2018, when all the books were finished. We had a team who reviewed all the translation and they were also from our village.

“Five of us were part of the translation team when we started and we are between the ages of 60 and 80.

Unfortunately, Mr Duru Snr passed away.

“Our ancestors used to speak in the Nawakura dialect, but now hardly anyone speaks the dialect in the village.

“We wanted to preserve our language and doing this is one way we ensure that our dialect will always be there for future generations.

“The younger generation in the village only speak in the Bauan dialect and they don’t know the Nawakura dialect, which is disappointing.”

Mr Bolauloa believes that it was about time the iTaukei translated the Bible in their dialect.

“The younger generation are slowly forgetting their dialect because they are used to the Bauan dialect. To preserve the dialect in Fiji the elders must ensure that their dialect does not die out,” he said.

“For the iTaukei our dialect is very important to us because it tells us where we are from.

“The finished text was sent to South Korea to the Korean Bible Society for printing.”
Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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