Native Languages

Got this from Chill:
In the most recent edition of  The Language Educator, I was pleased to see an article entitled “Teaching and Preserving Native Languages”. The article highlights the plight of many indigenous languages many of which are facing extinction. Quoting The Enduring Voices Project: ” Every fourteen days a language dies. By 2100, more than 7000 languages spoken on Earth – many of them not yet recorded – may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain.”
Having met and been very impressed and moved by an amazing group of native Americans- Kate, Jacob and Josh and the young man with the amazing smile who taught me about wanting drive –  at NTPRS, I was pleased to read that Jacob Manatowa-Bailey was specifically mentioned as being the force behind the revitalization of the Sauk language. Jacob is the Director of the Sauk Language Department for the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. Jacob is passionate about his work. He is currently working against the clock to spend time with the few remaining elderly speakers to codify the language while organizing ways for families and children to learn Sauk in his local public schools. Ben is really the expert on all of the details and has blogged on the topic.
Another gifted CI practitioner, Jan Holter-Kittok, was also mentioned in the article. In her role as a Language Education Consultant for the state of Minnesota, Jan was part of the working group on  Dakota and Ojibwe Language Revitalizationand Preservation.  Regarding the importance of the involvement of language educators in the efforts to save endangered indigenous languages, Jan said the following: ” We have much to share. The language revitalization efforts are on a short timeline. They don’t have time for trial and error strategies…we also cannot cannot afford to continue practices which do not result in language acquisition.



3 thoughts on “Native Languages”

  1. I attended the Beringia Days Conference a month or so ago. Aron Crowell of the Smithsonian Institution (Arctic Studies Center) shared some videos of the Denaina language lessons they have been creating, and I’ve been trying to get the link for this group. Here’s his answer…
    We will let you know when the three Dena’ina pieces are posted on Smithsonian itunes, hopefully next week. We just finished a bit of re-editing.
    You can view a version of one of them now at:
    Select the “Recovering Voices” collection.
    However, the revised three dialogues that will get posted here soon have less introductory material and also include a different format, in which the Dena’ina phrases are repeated three times, once with English + Dena’ina transcription, once with just Dena’ina transcription, and once with no transcription.
    Thanks for your interest in this–
    It takes a little work to find the piece under that “Recovering Voices” link, but I hope anyone connected with native languages can share it. It’s a whole lot of work, but very inspiring to see what the Smithsonian is doing. I truly believe that TPRS/CI could help save these languages, if we could only keep spreading it, but in the meantime, these efforts are hopeful and at the very least walk the talk by putting resources into the fight to save them.

  2. This is great news I love Amerindian languages having learned Guarani in Paraguay I love the prospect of seeing all human communication placed on the same table of legitimacy!

  3. As many of you know, my son Daniel teaches Breton using TPRS in Brittany. Many of the people who come to him for lessons are retired and they want to learn to speak their parents’ native tongue before it’s too late. Older generations were punished for speaking Breton in school and eventually stopped speaking it to their children. He has had people who, after years of “memorize the vocabulary and the grammar” lessons, come to him in tears because after six months of TPRS they were able to carry on a conversation in Breton with their parents.

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