Thirty-three years of teamwork reflected in new dictionary

Our language has always been passed down by memory. It is fitting that now, in this era of electronics, we have something in this medium. This will benefit not only the Tuwali Ifugao people, but also it will benefit all humanity. I would consider this our contribution to humanity.

–Denis B. Habawel, Governor of Ifugao Province

(June 2014) The Tuwali Ifugao community of the northern Philippines recently celebrated the completion of a new dictionary for their language. The print version of the Tuwali Ifugao Dictionary and Grammar Sketch was introduced on 16 June as part of Gotad ad Ifugao, a week of festivities marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of Ifugao Province. A free online version is also available. The book was compiled by Richard Hohulin and E. Lou Hohulin of SIL, along with many mother-tongue speakers of Tuwali Ifugao. It was published by the Linguistic Society of the Philippines.

At the dictionary launch event, thirty complimentary copies were presented to community members who were part of the team that compiled the dictionary, as well as several government and education officials. The dictionary was well-received: all 240 copies available on the presentation day were sold, with more on back order. Most copies were purchased by members of the community for home, school or office use. Others bought a copy for relatives living away from the community. One national business purchased several copies of the dictionary to help their staff learn about the Tuwali Ifugao language and culture in order to better contextualize their business activities in the region.

With nearly 7,000 entries, the dictionary provides a vast amount of information about the language and represents more than thirty years of collaboration between the Tuwali Ifugao community and the Hohulins. SIL colleague Marlin Leaders also joined the project for several years. The dictionary is inextricably linked with the translation of the Bible into Tuwali Ifugao, a project begun in 1981 and completed in 2004. As the translation team drafted and refined the translation, their notes on vocabulary formed the basis of the future dictionary. The grammar sketch included in the published dictionary reflects the fact that analyzing the language’s grammar was essential to developing an understandable, natural translation.



Clockwise from top: complimentary copies of the dictionary were given as a gift to team members involved in compiling the dictionary and to government and education officials; Governor Denis B. Habawel addresses the crowd; co-translator Teresita Dulawan receives a complimentary copy of the dictionary from Tammy Ruch, SIL Philippines Assistant Director; Ruch presents a copy to local attorney Evelyn S. Dulnuan as Sue McQuay, managing editor of the dictionary, looks on; Ifugao State University President Dr. Serafin L. Ngohayon and Pete Dulawan discuss the new dictionary; members of the community perform a traditional dance.

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