UG-UWI Collaborate to Initiate Revitalisation of Lokono – an Arawak Language

UG-UWI Collaborate to Initiate Revitalisation of Lokono – an Arawak Language

University of Guyana

Thursday, January 11, 2018, will mark the beginning of a language revitalisation project in the Arawak community of Wakapoa. For some time now, observers both inside and outside the community have noted that the only people who can and do speak Lokono, the traditional language of the community, are the elderly.

The Toshao and Council of Wakapoa, in order to reverse this situation, approached the Guyana Languages Unit, an informal working group at The University of Guyana (UG), for help.   

The Working Group, in turn, made contact with the International Centre for Caribbean Language Research (ICCLR), at The University of the West Indies. And the ICCLR agreed to fund a 10-day visit to Wakapoa by Lokono language scholar, Daidrah Smith.

Ms Smith is scheduled to carry out activities, with full support from UG’s Learning Resource Centre, that include documenting the language in everyday use through demonstrations of traditional skills, arts and crafts narrated and explained using Lokono.

In addition, she will be working with the community to decide on the final details of an orthography (writing system) they find most acceptable for the language, and will finalise plans to spread the use of Lokono in everyday speech amongst the young people and children of the community.

She is also expected to participate in a major community activity on Monday, January 15, to complete a programme of activities to revitalise and revive the use of the Lokono language in Arawak communities such as Wakapoa.

Students and lecturers from The University of Guyana and The University of the West Indies will be on hand to witness and participate in the January 15 exercise.
For further information please contact:

  • Charlene Wilkinson              Tel. #: 691-7938
  • Toshao Errol Williams        Tel. #: 674 6981

With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under-graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities.

Public Relations Division
January 9, 2018

University of Guyana

Turkeyen Campus, Greater Georgetown
Tel #: 222-5402


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