Authors of ‘A Tovotovo Lo Leo Nduindui’ Roslyn Tor (third from left to right) and Carol Aru (fourth from left) standing with contributors to the book and happy family members after the book launch at the National Library.


‘A Tovotovo Lo Leo Nduindui’ — a book written in the Nduindui language of West Ambae has been launched at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre.

It is co-written by Roslyn Tor and Carol Aru.

The book covers a range of topics on life in the village, marriage, traditional cooking styles, dances, games and dressings.

The book aims to preserve and promote the West Ambaen language and unique way of life. It is hoped that it can be used in schools on West Ambae as a guide to help teachers as well as to teach the younger generation of West Ambae living in Port Vila in mastering the language and having a knowledge of their custom and culture.

Co-author Tor says Tovotovo means to talk formally especially during meetings when people are planning to do something. The title basically translates to ‘Formal talking’ in the Nduindui language.

Mrs Tor says the main idea behind writing the book is to preserve and promote the language of West Ambae, targeting the younger generation of West Ambaens. She says some cannot speak the language well and many cannot count in their language.

Mrs Tor says the language is dying out. She also says when she was doing language stock while working with the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, they discovered on Independence Day that out of the 130 languages of Vanuatu, 36 have already been lost.

Mrs Tor says it was from that time that she decided to do something to preserve her native Nduindui language of west Ambae as she also says a lot of west Ambaen kids have lost their identity.

As a message to all young west Ambaens out there, Mrs Tor says they should all speak their language and use their island names.

She gives an example, “if you call yourself Mr John, Mr John could be from England or Australia, however when you call yourself Mr Tari, Vira, Aru, Bani or any other Ambaen name, people know you are Ambaen”.

Mrs Tor says the name and language is the identity.