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Marshallese Resources

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502 posts - 1093 votes 
Studies: German

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06 May 2020 at 12:06am | IP Logged 
During the period from February 2020 through May 2020, I conducted a complete revision to the twenty-eight (28) lists of resources which I had posted on the LLORG during the previous three-year period. As revising these types of documents directly on the LLORG in the “Edit Mode” is fraught with difficulties, I removed their contents from the LLORG, stored them on my computer, and completed the revisions. During the revision process an event occurred which prevented me from reposting the contents to their original files and, as a contingency measure, I have posted them here on the HTLAL in the anticipation that either the Administrator or the Moderators of the LLORG will copy/paste them to the LLORG. - Speakeasy


Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin Ṃajeḷ), is an island country and a United States associated state near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country's population of 58,413 people (at the 2018 World Bank Census) is spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The capital and largest city is Majuro. It has most of its territory made of water of any sovereign state, at 97.87% … Micronesian colonists reached the Marshall Islands using canoes circa 2nd millennium BC, with interisland navigation made possible using traditional stick charts and eventually settled there. Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s … The US government formed the Congress of Micronesia in 1965, a plan for increased self-governance of Pacific islands. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1979 provided independence to the Marshall Islands, whose constitution and president were formally recognized by the US. Full sovereignty or self-government was achieved in a Compact of Free Association with the United States … Source: Wikipedia
Marshall Islands Peoples and Languages
The majority of the citizens of the Republic of Marshall Islands, formed in 1982, are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China, Philippines, and other Pacific islands. The two official languages are Marshallese, which is one of the Malayo-Polynesian languages; and English … Source: Wikipedia     

Marshallese Language
The Marshallese language (Marshallese: new orthography Kajin M̧ajeļ or old orthography Kajin Majōl [kɑzʲinʲ(i)mˠɑːzʲɛlˠ], also known as Ebon, is a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands. The language is spoken by about 44,000 people in the Marshall Islands, making it the principal language of the country. There are also roughly 6,000 speakers outside of the Marshall Islands, including those in Nauru and the United States. There are two major dialects: Rālik (western) and Ratak (eastern) … Source: Wikipedia

Byron W. Bender (1929 – 2020)
Students of the Marshallese language owe a debt of gratitude to Byron W. Bender, the author of the most prominent set of materials for the study of this language. Byron W. Bender (August 14, 1929 – January 4, 2020) was a professor of linguistics at the University of Hawaiʻi specializing in Micronesian languages, primarily Marshallese, and Oceanic languages more generally. Professor Bender’s website contains a list publications which touch upon the language.

As there are few resources for the study of Marshallese, and as the most prominent ones which are available date from the 1970’s, legacy and contemporary materials have been grouped together by type of resource.

Marshallese Courses, Supplements, etc.

Glossika Marshallese – NONE
Circa 2018: announcement of prospective expansion of languages. Marshallese materials not yet available.

National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) – University of Maryland - NONE

Practice Course in Marshallese (2004), 249 pages, by Peter Rudiak-Gould; Independently published
Free downloadable PDF file. The author of this free course on the basics of Marshallese also wrote “Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State". Refer to the listing below under “Marshallese Culture, Society, History, etc.”

Spoken Marshallese: An Intensive Language Course with Grammatical Notes and Glossary (1969), 464 pages, by Byron W. Bender; University of Hawaii Press
Byron W. Bender (1929 – 2020) was a professor of linguistics at the University of Hawaiʻi specializing in Micronesian languages, primarily Marshallese, and Oceanic languages more generally. Circa 1970, he authored an introductory course in the study of Marshallese accompanied by a Grammar and a bilingual dictionary of the language. To this today, this collection remains the most prominent set of resources available.
In 2009, Amazon Customer, ksiezycowy wrote:
4 stars. Good Introduction. There are few Marshallese textbooks on the market. In fact I would hazard to guess that this is the only one readily available. It is a great introduction to the language. The only problem with the text is the use of both the traditional spelling (which is now obsolete) and the use of a strange 'phonetic' spelling. This effectively reproduces all of the dialogues and vocabulary items twice. The spelling introduced in the authors Marshallese - English Dictionary is more accurate than that in Spoken Marshallese, however Spoken Marshallese still stands as a great introduction to the language of the Marshal Islands. It starts off with short dialogues that introduce a few new words each and then goes into a set of drills that are meant to introduce and exemplify the grammar which is introduced last. Later lessons start introducing prose passages and longer dialogues. Overall I would highly recommend this text to anyone that wants to learn Marshallese. As a note I would recommend anyone to buy the dictionary as well if they want to learn the current spelling of words. All-be-it this might not be cost effective and can be tedious, but the added bonus is that you will need a good dictionary eventually if you are serious about learning Marshallese. Plus the dictionary uses the same 'phonetic' spelling used in 'Spoken Marshallese' along side the traditional spelling so you can cross-reference entries. Update: There is a newer introduction to Marshallese that is available for free. Look for Practical Marshallese in google. It is a great introduction to the language in the modern orthography.
UPDATE: Prospective students of Marshallese should take note of księżycowy's subsequent comments referencing the AUDIO recordings which were prepared to accompany this textbook.
księżycowy wrote:
I was waiting to see if you would list Spoken Marshallese by Bender. I will note that I happen to have actually tracked down the audio to the course, which is a tremendous help! Peter Rudiak-Gould's website hinted at some audio files at the University of Hawaii. I can't remember who I talked to there (aside from Daniel Tom, who had already retired), but the price was very reasonable. If I remember correctly they were selling the audio as a download for 5~10$.
księżycowy wrote:
… when I requested the audio to Spoken Marshallese … The person I was ultimately directed to, who was in charge of the audio, was Robert Wong from the Center for Language and Technology, University of Hawaii at Mānoa. That should hopefully be plenty of information for anyone who is interested.
księżycowy, thank you very for the additional information and for your support of this language.

Marshallese Phrasebooks, Language Guides, etc.

DLI Marshallese Language Survival Kit - NONE

Marshallese-English Phrasebook for Secondary Students and Teachers (2013), 43 pages, by Malie Tarbwilin et al.; Independently published – Learn Marshallese

Marshallese Phrasebook (with audio files) – website of the Republic of Marshall Islands

Omniglot - Useful phrases in Marshallese

U.S. Peace Corps Marshallese Training Manual (1992), 97 pages, by Richard Cook
In contrast to many U.S. Peace Corps language guides, this training manual is much more a phrasebook than it is a course.

wikiKnowHow – How to Learn Marshallese

Marshallese Grammar, Orthography, etc.

======= Grammars: General =======

Marshallese Reference Grammar (1976, reprinted 2016), 360 pages, by Byron W. Bender et al.; University of Hawaii Press

======= Orthography, etc. =======

Marshallese Alphabet (2004), by Lori Phillips; Bess Press

Marshallese Spelling Reforms (article) (2004); Far Outliners blogspot

====== Special Interest =======

Oceanic Linguistics
Oceanic Linguistics is the only journal devoted exclusively to the study of the indigenous languages of the Oceanic area and parts of Southeast Asia. The thousand-odd languages within the scope of the journal are the aboriginal languages of Australia, the Papuan languages of New Guinea, and the languages of the Austronesian (or Malayo-Polynesian) family. Articles in Oceanic Linguistics cover issues of linguistic theory that pertain to languages of the area, report research on historical relations, or furnish new information about inadequately described languages.

Marshallese Dictionaries, etc.

Marshallese-English Dictionary (1976) by by Takaji Abo, Byron W. Bender et al.; University of Hawaii Press     
Marshallese-English Dictionary (1976) by by Takaji Abo, Byron W. Bender et al.; Online Pali Text version

Marshallese-English Online Dictionary and Keyboard
Marshallese-English Online Dictionary - Naan

Webster’s Marshallese - English Thesaurus Dictionary (2008), 32 pages, by Philip M. Parker; ICON Group International
From the author/editor: If you are learning Marshallese, this book was not created for you, and you should not purchase it. It was created for completely fluent mother-tongue speakers of Marshallese who already know the full meaning of Marshallese words, but who need to learn how a single English translation of a Marshallese word may have ambiguous meanings in the English language. It is designed for bi-lingual education for the non-English reader who wants to improve English-language test scores covering English synonyms.     
Marshallese Readers, Literature, etc.

Marshallese Bible with Footnotes / Jeje Ko Rekwojarjar (2010); Bible Society

Stories from the Marshall Islands: Bwebwenato Jan Aelon Kein (2001), 424 pages, by Jack A. Tobin; University of Hawaii Press

Marshallese Culture, Society, History, etc.

Climate Change and Tradition in a Small Island State (2015), 244 pages, by Peter Rudiak-Gould; Routledge
Peter Rudiak-Gould - website

Marshall Islands Legends and Stories (2003), 270 pages, by Daniel A. Kelin II; Bess Press

Marshallese Language, Recordings from the 1950s: Traditional Legends
During the years Byron W. Bender lived and worked at Majuro, he was able to record traditional legends as told by three esteemed raconteurs: Lemmaan from Rongelap, Jauwej from Wotje, and Jibaaj from Ebon. He also recorded a session by Lōjjellañ, paramount chief of the Rālik chain of atolls at the Marshall Islands Intermediate School on Majuro. Kaipuleohone is the University of Hawai'i's digital ethnographic archive for audio and video recordings as well as notes, dictionaries, transcriptions, and other materials related to small and endangered languages.

Marshallese Media

ABYZ News Links

Marshallese Language - YouTube

Marshallese Miscellany

Byron W. Bender, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai‘i

Nitijela: Parliament of Republic of Marshall Islands - website
OLAC resources in and about the Marshallese language

University of Hawaii NFLRC – NONE
In light of the University of Hawaii’s participation in Byron W. Bender’s collection of materials for the study of Marshallese, it is rather curious that their NFLRC presently contains no publications on the language.      

Please feel at liberty to post your own recommendations and/or comments and I’ll see what I can do about incorporating them into the lists above.

Visitors to this file are encouraged to review the subsequent comments, posted below, as they include members’ suggestions concerning materials and form a running commentary on resources for the study of this language.

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