Ben's TPRS/CI Professional Learning Community
Comprehensible Input and TPRS Coaching, Training, and Community
By Ben Slavic November 4, 2019 8 Comments
Kate Taluga says
June 1, 2020 at 12:35 PM
This was an amazing film. Thank you for posting this for me to find. I was so happy to witness the Elders in immersion school summer institute seeking to unsderstand how to write their stories. This is HUGE. Our words carry our cultural ways of being. Because in Indian country as in much of the United States in general there has been so much collapse of the family, the culture and society has been ripped asunder by colonization, drugs, alcohol and abuse as you may have been abused.
The children learn from their mother’s tongue from the breast times forward. In the best times those women are honored and adequately supported by the family who surround her. We know enterprising young parents who want to create loving families for their children will find ways to reach out and there must be places for them to land in the generations older than them. We ALL need mentors in the generation ahead of us that we can talk to for guidance.
So these Elders know they have to leave their words for the future to find. It helps if the future finds something that has agreement in how it sounds and is written. It is so very confusing if you find so many different ways. Think American English, Aussie English, and British English . . . which is right? They all are but you as a learner don’t know the settings in which they are correct necessarily.
So, I am appalauding all those ways folks are trying to help revitalize those 22,000 words in Lakota. I am especially cheering for the stories. That is where those teenagers and babies and returning-turning to the language parents are going to find fodder for bathing their brains.
Here is a story in Indigenious languages revitalization. In the North East as the pilgrim fathers began making treaties with the locals. Literally stealing land for beads but legalizing it in the high English Law system, the locals insisted the treaties also be written in their language. There was no written language at that time. But the missionaries went at creating an orthography and the lawyers wrote the papers and filed them with The king. The people meanwhile lost their land, were assimilated or destroyed and those treaties dismantled when it inconvienced progress. The language died. No one spoke it again until . . . flash forward to the 1990s and a single mother who returned to school wanted to reclaim her heritage and studied linguistics. She went to England and brought those papers home. Word by word she reclaimed their language and a doctoral as she brought the dead language to life once again. Starting with labeling and reluctant children cause it ain’t cool to speak a funny language, it is now spoken daily within that tribal group.
Hail to the Elders and the generations to come who will keep the Fire alive.
Ben Slavic says
June 1, 2020 at 3:59 PM
Kate who was that mother who went to England? Is there anything we can read about her and her work online?
June 1, 2020 at 4:04 PM
…our words carry our cultural ways of being….
That is my third choice for Sentence of the Month. This idea is true I guess of modern languages but to a much less extent, and when a modern language is taught these days, it doesn’t even get down into our students’ hearts let along what you are talking about as culture = language.
Another factor here is how ancient native languages are. When you have that long, with so much time passing as the language matures and grows and self-defines, allowing that culture as language/language as culture piece to be noticeable and more noble than what we do with our baby languages. French is like 1000 years old. Big deal, right?
June 1, 2020 at 4:13 PM
I remember when you were talking in one of those conferences so long ago you used the word “invaders”. Generally one doesn’t want to learn the language of somebody who has invaded their lands as you describe above. NO WONDER indigenous people and modern Americans are so distant from each other. Plus, when culture and language occupy the same psychic and ethereal space, but the culture is in hopeless decay, so also will the American English language reveal how UGLY it has become too. Native Americans embody ways of living from a former era, one when life could be lived happily and in harmony with nature. I now it’s a generalization from one who doesn’t know, but let me say it anyway. I could write more about our own language and what is happening to it, but why not just turn on CNN? People can’t even spell anymore, I am noticing.
June 1, 2020 at 7:20 PM
I will look for her name in my notes. It was way back that I saw her present at my first Tribal language conference which was the year before you came and presented to us. She was out of New York.
The reason I was so pleased to see the Elders writing as that for most of the languages there is very little written in the language itself. That means you not only have zip or almost zip for audio happening but you can’t get it going in your head as a reader if you do know how to read and what the language sounds like.
I remember Krashen talking with me about how reading a language reinforced for him or extended his learning. Adult learners which I am one can only translate Brown Bear and other easy readers in English for a while. Especially if they don’t have children in the home. The only thing compelling about that is just to hear the rhythm and flow. It isn’t the latest local news update nor does it hold cultural significance or interest.
I was wowed by those Elders pworking it out. Because I know that while they are doing an audio dictionary and recording they must be planning to get those stories down in audio as well. That is when those baby learners at whatever their ages will get the brain bath. I so wanted to tell the woman who wanted to converse with her husband to put the audio in her car for her daily commute. Boy can I count from one to ten. But now I am paying really close attention to nasalization and where the natural break in the syllables fall.
And boy did I feel like a champion when I took 3 hours last week and did stop after the English and wrote those simple phrases out before I pressed play to hear the Mvskoke. That speaker has been dead for years but it is one of the few audios out there?
As a storyteller in English, I love the idea of story listening to bring in that brain bath. But, the need for getting those stories down to reinforce later what you heard is critical.
And Ben just in case others don’t get how you’ve really championed Native Language programs in the USA I want to tell you how much I have appreciated your efforts to get us to conferences and your willingness to share your time, resources and heart with us. Mvto!
June 2, 2020 at 10:03 AM
Thank you Kate. By the way, I have a FOURTH favorite sentence for the June sentence competition:
…the only thing compelling … is just to hear the rhythm and flow….
That may well be my favorite, bc it speaks the truth of Krashen in a way I’ve not heard it expressed. It also speaks to a kind of poetry, not really normal speech, that I heard while in Oklahoma. I remember that I could have stayed and listened to the those younger teachers in Jacob’s care forever. The language they spoke could literally transport a person – its slowness, its respect for life, the native tones that reveal a life of harmony with all that is around them, the timbre of those young teachers’ voices – all thrilling for people who value sound as a key to the whole mystery that we live every day. (Although in our cases it is not sound at all, but noise.)
June 2, 2020 at 10:07 AM
Now on the topic of how reading and auditory input interface, since spoken native languages DID NOT HAVE any reading follow up – bc in your languages reading never really happened (since they are so old, so ancient), then that reinforcement Krashen told you he gets from the reading piece didn’t happen either.
I have a suggestion. Could you create a spoken text that you can then afterwards write down in whatever written form you have that you have available to you?
So in this schema you create a text that is the same text just spoken. It took me a long time to figure it out, bc nobody told me at any of those conferences, that the key to success with CI is the reading that is generated by the story.
I offer a simple plan. Use the Star Sequence, which allows you to create and then write the text (in Phase 3 to prepare for Phase 4) and since the aural story and the resulting written story are the same, the learning will be faster, because the learner is not trying to decipher something they don’t already have in their auditory brain.
It doesn’t seem new, this idea, but have you in native languages ever done this, where you create the image or story and then read it directly afterwords? Probably yes. Maybe I’m missing something obvious.
But if I have anything to offer that has any concrete value to the struggle that you and the others who have lived it feel as a kind of hidden but palpable pain every day, it is the above.
June 2, 2020 at 12:39 PM
I got with my Fl. Elder today to set up an editing process tomorrow. I hear the story in my head L1 because I have told this story many times. He hears the story in His L1 but always tells it in English bc it can be long and no one has enuf Mvskoke in the immediate commu ity here. He will start off with it in Mvskoke but it is hard to jump in and out of two languages.
In ceremony or tribal matters, there is a tradition in our ways for a second tongue that is the person who repeats what the leader says. It is a good habit bc if the tongue doesn’t tell the community right what you said you can correct them. So leader tells tongue who tells community. Cool,huh talk about a comprehension check. Europeans hated dealing with native leadership because it always took so long. So in storytelling I am his 2nd tongue up to the point where he just wants to get the words out . he is an eloquent speaker. Since his cancer treatments of radiation on his mouth it is difficult for him to talk for long and to be understandable. He persevered though.
So my job today beside another hour or two in the garden weeding while contemplating easy language for me to write and for my new cohort of learners, is to get a reasonable. Storyline down. Remember I am the big sister toddler to those babies. Then I need to pull the story down even further for a reasonable short reading for them.
He loves to edit so this will drive me nuts, but he is a linguist at heart just old school grammarian. I am giving him the link to Krashen’s work on story listening and soon he will be focused on writing for me. I hope. He is a trickster rabbit in many ways (in the SE rabbit was our Coyote) but he is excited I am back on track.
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