Language rights in the United States island territory of Guam
This article examines the language legislation of the United States territory of Guam as stated in the Organic Act of Guam (1950) and its legal statutes. The article seeks to offer suggestions about how the quality of this language legislation might be improved. As in a few states in the United States (i.e., Hawaii, Louisiana, and New Mexico), Guam established linguistic laws with provisions that protect the language rights of Chamorro speakers, the native population of Guam, especially in the areas of education and language standardization. In spite of the impressive array of language laws enacted by Guam’s legislature to teach Chamorro language and culture in the schools for more than half a century, the use of English is increasing, while that of Chamorro continues to shrink in Guam, which may be due to a lack of buy-in by the indigenous Chamorro population with respect to the importance of expanding the use of this language for the purpose of maintaining a modern-day Chamorro identity.
Keywords: language legislation, language rights, U.S. territories, Guam, Chamorro
Published online: 21 June 2018
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