Language and Family

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2 thoughts on “Language and Family”

  1. What a great poem selection.

    I spent Sunday afternoon in the lazy river of song with one of my Elders. We sat in the warmth of a Florida February afternoon (68) on some plastic chairs in the shade of the West Arbor. We sang songs he wanted us to know for an upcoming ceremony. a red-tailed hawk circled above singing with us.

    As we sang, he parceled out how the vocatives were compressed old ceremonial words for the Creation story. This made it so much easier to remember the words. I got it. I understood what was being invoked by the Song. I will never sing it again without visualizing what those words mean. We talked about the placement of the songs in relationship to the actual order of the dances, how the dances mimicked Creation.

    Yes, the lazy river flowed in & out of deep pools of Mvskoke, but as most the people gathered were not language learners, it flowed between the steep banks of English.

    Again I was reminded that without the language one cannot understand the Culture. My fellow citizens on the bench feel overwhelmed when faced with trying to become knowledgeable in Mvskoke. It is too hard for them and they are too old. They don’t understand the need and how dangerously close we are to losing our capability to recall our identity in our language.

    Where are the children?

  2. Krashen has an article about “language parents” that this reminded me of. People (parents, or other elders) who tell you stories in their NL and every rep– you hear the stories several times– you get a bit more. (Krashe says that’s hwo he picked up German in his 20s…from his landlady in Europe or something like that).

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