When We Let Languages Die

Nathania Silahi, YGI Staff Writer

All of us are settling into the new rhythm of the new year – some with clear goals for 2016 already ingrained in the backs of their minds. Over the winter break, I was fortunate enough to fly from Indonesia to explore a handful of countries in central and eastern Europe. The entire experience was amazing, but it also triggered deep self-reflection when the new year rolled along. I’ve always been aware of English linguistic hegemony. However, the issue never escalated to a point where I felt like I needed to do something to counteract these forces of linguistic erosion. In airports and museums, I heard tourists struggle when they couldn’t speak English and I watched as they failed to find brochures published in their native language.

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Puntan Dos Amantes

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Romeo and Juliet is a common trope used amongst varied forms of entertainment such as literature and movies. Unsurprisingly, this trope also manifests itself in the folktales of many cultures. Some examples are “Ghost of the Violet Well” (Japanese), “Butterfly Lovers” (Chinese), and “Red Shield and Running Wolf” (Native American). The Romeo-and-Juliet-esque folktale I will introduce originates from the Chamorro culture of Guam, a beautiful culture that most are not familiar with. It is a tale that has been recounted every year by my Chamorro teachers when I lived in Guam. It is titled, “Puntan Dos Amantes”, the “End of Two Lovers.”

The following is the legend that comes directly from the official website (http://www.twoloverspoint.com):

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