5 Mar 2007

New Caledonian indigenous Kanak language academy set up

5:51 am on 5 March 2007

A New Caledonian indigenous Kanak language academy is expected to standardise, protect, and develop the about forty Kanak languages and dialects.

The Noumea accord made provisions for the creation of an academy of Kanak languages and it is estimated that about 60 thousand residents of the territory speak at least one of them.

Most of the Kanak languages exist only in spoken form and a Noumea university linguistics lecturer, Jacques Vernaudeon, says there needs to be a norm.

"Most of them are spoken and because they are taught at school some of them need to have a standard to be written and the academy can also produce new texts for the teaching of the languages."

Jacques Vernaudeon says these standards will then be used as guidelines for teaching the languages as electives in primary schools and in the university.

The territory's vice president, Dewe Gorodey, has been appointed chair of the academy a week ago.