10 Jul 2014

Fears PNG Motu language is dying

7:09 am on 10 July 2014

There are fears that the Motu language, one of the official languages of Papua New Guinea, could become extinct in 50 to 60 years.

A senior lecturer who specialises in Motu at the Divine Word University, Dr Sibona Kopi, says about 40 thousand people speak Motu, but he's afraid the number is rapidly declining.

He says Motuan people have become marginalised, and many young people do not know basic Motu.

"Our language is dying at a faster rate than some people may think. Development benefits do not really go to the Motu people, because they see development in terms of language. And that is why many young people today are not speaking Motu, they are speaking either the pidgin or the English."

Dr Sibona Kopi says as a way to combat this, a Motu dictionary is being written, and the dialect is being recorded so it will not be lost to future generations.