SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — A dictionary will be published for Cia-Cia tribe, an ethnic minority in Indonesia that adopted Hangul, the Korean alphabet, as its official writing system 10 years ago.
The Asia Development Foundation announced on Monday that it will sponsor Jung Deuk-young, 58, a Hangul instructor at Cia-Cia Hangul School, to publish the very first dictionary for the Cia-Cia language.
The Cia-Cia people consist of 70,000 people living in the town of Bau-Bau, located on Indonesia’s Buton island.
They have their own language, but had been using the Roman alphabet to write due to lack of an original writing system.
In 2008, they signed a memorandum of understanding to incorporate Hangul into their writing system.
Hangul is capable of depicting the sound of the Cia-Cia language with accuracy, something which the Roman alphabet could not achieve.
In July 2009, two Hangul instructors were sent to teach the Korean alphabet to the Cia-Cia people. In the following month, Hangul began to be used to write the Cia-Cia language.
A total of 15 million won (US$12,900) will be invested in the publication of the Cia-Cia dictionary, which is expected to take three years to publish.
“Creating a dictionary means preserving the Cia-Cia language,” said Cho Nam-chul, Executive Director of the Asia Development Foundation.
“The Cia-Cia language will finally go through a critical evolution of acquiring its own writing system.”
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)