“Lasay la,” meaning “yes” in sherpa ,. “Thuche .” (“Thank you . )
Has it happened to you that when explaining to a person in English, some tradition or custom of your country, it is difficult to find the words that convey exactly what we want to say in Sherpa langauge ? And is that often the flavor of our stories and customs is diluted as we translate it into another language. The stories that our grandparents told us in Sherpa do not sound exactly the same when we talk to our children in English.
There is no doubt that maintaining our mother tongue helps preserving the cultural traditions and riches of social groups. Unfortunately, according to UNESCO, around the world, “every two weeks a language disappears that takes away a cultural and intellectual heritage.”
Therefor , In the 2018’s , I was was a young curious sherpa IT student , trying to preserve , teach our mother tongue myself and for our generation . when I started a 20-minute radio program called “Sherwi Ke Layreem , Sherwi Ke toll “ Out of a tiny studio on the 3rd floor of a my aparment building, I started with just a microphone and my studio recording iMovie app . I began researching our sherpa langauge programs on YouTube and online but there is only few programs and songs available. Nevertheless , on October 2018 I finally was able to connect with the sherpa layreem host Miss Sonam Dolma Sherpa (Miss sherpa 2017) from Nepal and after our brief discussion to bring our dying sherpa language alive we began interviewing all the native language speakers we could find. YouTube layreem videos.
Here in United States, New York We estimates there were about very few of them left of this generation who grew up speaking Sherpa in the home.
So this sparked me more interest and I find it very important for our United Sherpa community to preserve our mother tongue and transmit it to our children. Being bilingual is an advantage that is increasingly valued around the world. Instill in our young people the pride of being bilingual and knowing Sherpa.
Hearing Sherpa talk to each other on the radio in their own language was radical at the time. I personally had to convince myself to the audience that the project was worthwhile. But once people heard our radio programs , interviews on the air, and our Facebook page khumbulenewyork they wanted to understand what our intentions were and what we were trying to message the world . They wanted to be part of it.
On feb 24th 2019 I was so fortunate to meet very well sherpa speaking young sherpa woman pasang Futi from New York City and we have began interviewing all the native sherpa language speakers we could find.
The radio show sparked strong interest from many sherpa people from United States , Europe who saw the language’s status as a sign that their culture was slipping away.
“Language is the first aspect of a people to vanish,” said Pasang Futi
“People don’t recognize that until it’s almost gone, because they’re hanging onto their typical culture identification tags such as their songs, their dancing, their foods, their religion maybe, or what they wear or how they look. But language is the one that is slipping away without them noticing it. And by the time it happens, it’s in very dire straits.”
Miss . Pasang Futi sherpa
I’m not only amazed, proud with what Pasang Futi has injected to help me and save our dying sherpa langauge . She is a true community hero always committed to preserve our dying langauge and culture.
trust me , success is not just having the Sherpa Rigshung schools and the educational programs, but hearing the sherpa language being spoken in public and on air matters. I have dream to have our Sherpa become an everyday language here in the states and around the world . at the Sherpas gathering parties and the Sherpa kyidug’s temple. And I realizes that will take another generation (or two or three) to keep pressing on with its commitment to learn the language and value it as an essential part of maintaining the culture.
This year, the United Nations is aiming to bring attention to the world’s dying languages. About 40 percent of the the world’s 7000 langauges throughout the world are said to be “endangered,” meaning there are so few native speakers left that the language is in danger of becoming extinct within a generation.
Word by word, we are trying to teach ourselves what got dropped between the generations, and hold on.
Thank you and please keep listening and support our sherpa Layreem programs here in the states. Follow our Facebook page and subscribe to YouTube channel .