At this time of year I like to remind myself and all the entire Tongan Language School of how much they have achieved in 2015. So I created this video. Kids always love to see themselves in videos. I then challenged my family to write down their new goals. Amongst our new family goals is to speak more in Tongan. To consciously catch ourselves when we speak in English. To make more opportunities to use our language. What one Tongan word will describe 2016 for you? Will it be ako (learn, learning). For me it will be the word “va’inga” (play). To be more playful, to incorporate more play-based learning into my lessons. 2016 will be a year to play.
Do you or your child have a long Tongan name? Chances are most pālangi people can not pronounce it. Am i right? Like Taulupe, you are probably using a nickname or prefer your pālangi name over your Tongan name. It’s James not Semisi.
When asked her name, a young student said her pālangi name until the teacher found out her name was Vaʻelaveamata and insisted on using her Tongan name. Who would name their child (foot injured face/eyes) which is the literal meaning. I wondered wether she knew the origin of her name? She was a beautiful girl who became the wife of the Tu’i Tonga back in 1450. Her name was Va’e (foot) but when the Tu’iTonga saw her he was so blinded to the point of injury by her beauty that she became known as Va’elaveamata.
Here are my tips in teaching kids at a young age to love their name.
Know the Story behind the name.
Share the story. Keep reminding them what an awesome name they have. Share stories of their namesake.
Make sure teachers/ friends can pronounce their name correctly. It isnʻt that hard teachers ʻread it how you see it, phonetically.
It’s great to see the Government placing an emphasis on community languages being taught with government schools. The Tongan Language School here in Sydney is establishing itself and there are 2 to 3 government primary schools that teach Tongan within their primary curriculum.
Community Language Teacher Mary Greatz talks about her experience within one of these government primary schools.
‘E ‘ikai ngalo e feilaulau kuohili’. Lest we forget their sacrifices.
ANZAC Day (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) has become a day of national remembrance for Australia, New Zealand and Tonga of the sacrifices that generations have endured to keep us safe. While it actually commemorates the Gallipoli landing in Turkey in 1915, it is just one of many campaigns in which Tongans amongst other Pacific Islanders have been a part of since WWI. This day has come to symbolise the spirit of the ANZAC, that of fatongia (duty), feilalau (sacrifice) and fakakaungame’a (mateship). Like Tonga, Australia and NZ are a small nation compared to forces of the British, French and the US but their bravery, courage and contribution was second to none. Lest we forget!
After learning the Alphabet and correct pronunciation, my class are now working on learning these important question words. Having little or no prior knowledge of the Tongan language, my focus is getting the class to understand these words so I don’t receive blank stares when I ask questions. Important questions like Ko hai ho hingoa’? What/Whom is your name? Fēfē hake? How are you?Fē ‘a e peni’? Where is the pen?
ʻIkai ke ʻi ai he lea feʻunga ke fai ʻeku houngaʻia he lava lelei ʻeku ako ka ko e fakamālō pē.
Te u hiki ‘a hoku le’o ke fai ʻaki ha fakamālō. Lea pe ʻeku leaʼ, mālō ʻEiki ʻa hoʻo ʻofa.
Last week, I was honoured to receive my certificate in Community languages teaching at University of Sydney. Words can not express my gratitude and all I can do is to thank the one above for his blessings. When I began this blog over a year ago, never had I imagined I would be a qualified Community Languages Teacher teaching my own class. This course has helped immensely focus my scattered brain of one and a half billion ideas. I look forward to posting more this year. Using my ideas and resources in class and sharing them for you all.
Ko e fehu’i mālie eni ‘a Alando Soakai. A very interesting question by Alando Soakai.
Have you been called ‘plastic’ because you speak more English than your native tongue?
Other terms used to address you and your identity for not speaking the language is a pālangi (foreigner) or fie pālangi (want to be a foreigner). Considering there are more Tongans living outside the Kingdom is plastic the new norm? Great article into his own experience which I know many can relate to. Click on the link to check it out. Is ‘plastic’ the new norm?.