Archive for the ‘language instruction’ Category

“Oh, Mr. Wardrop, I wish I was aboriginal”

3 July 2012

Parkes East Public School is an elementary school in New South Wales, Australia. Since at least 2009, they have had a Wiradjuri (wrh) language program, and this year’s management plan shows that all children partake in that education.

According to the Ethnologue, the language is extinct, but in the video “Wiradjuri,” Lionel Lovett says he knows the language (and the children think he must be two hundred years old).

The video shows some of the education in action. In a startling reversal from the city of Parkes being “very racist” a few decades ago (according to “Our Mother Tongue: Wiradjuri“), one of the teachers interviewed in the video says that students say to him, “Oh, Mr. Wardrop, I wish I was aboriginal.”

Update: See “How a language transformed a town” for more on this topic.

Language revitalization in California

10 May 2012

At least traditionally. California is the most linguistically state in the United States. Casey Capachi, a reporter at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, posted a video titled “Native American language revitalization” on YouTube yesterday. The video documents the spirit of the people learning and using their living languages.

Bodéwadmi, Keepers of the Fire

9 April 2011

Potawatomi (pot) is a language spoken in the Great Lakes region and Kansas in North America. It is spoken by the Potawatomi, who call themselves the Bodéwadmi, which means “Keepers of the Fire.”

According to the Ethnologue, there are 1250 speakers in Canada and 50 in the US. The APWAD blog says there are less than 20 in the US.

Along with the Algonquin, Nipissing, Oji-Cree and Odawa, the Potawatomi are an Ojibwe people, and one of the interesting aspects of Ojibwe culture is the use of birch bark scrolls, known as wiigwaasabak and mide-wiigwaas. These scrolls have complex glyphs (writing symbols), though according to Wikipedia, not much is known about them due to their secret nature.

Many resources are available for learning Potawatomi.

This post was inspired by “Endangered Language: Potawatomi” on the (sometimes outrageously funny) Languages Hell Yeah blog, and the many links in “Potawatomi language” on the Pokagon blog.

Halq’eméylem class offering

23 March 2011

According to “New language course available to all ages” on the Agassiz Observer site today, Halq’eméylem (as Halkomelem (hur) is known in the Upriver dialect) classes will be offered to people of all ages after spring break, which ends next week. The classes will be offered at the Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE) in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

As of 2000, there were a little more than 200 speakers according to the Ethnologue report. “Cowichan elder keeping the language alive” on the Cowichan News Leader site cites 278 speakers, though interviewee Luschiim says that number is too high.

Also, according to Luschiim, true knowledge requires knowing not only your own family but the family and kinship of others, a demonstration of how language and culture are closely intertwined, and an example of how it is important to maintain language to ensure culture can continue.

To learn Halkomelem, try Tatul’ut tthu Hul’q’umi’num’, a nine-course series including pictures and audio. To type in Halkomelem, see the Language GeekDictionary of Upriver Halkomelem is available from University of California Press for USD 90/GBP 62, and the e-book version is available for USD 72.

Software for Language Learning

17 May 2007

CALICO (Computer Assisted Language Instruction COnsortium) has an annual conference to discuss methods of using computers to assist with language instruction. This year’s symposium has just passed, but in 2001, Robert Balas and Anne George presented on their “La Taupe” and “A travers la lumiere” programs that allow popular video software QuickTime videos to be integrated with a dictionary and more to assist students of French.

In 2002, Canku Ota reported that La Taupe was adapted for students to learn Upriver Halkomelem, a tonal dialect of Halkomelem (hur) in the US. The article notes that the Nooksack people have adopted this language as Nooksack has been lost.

The language program can be found in the Education Department programs of the Nooksack tribe under Halqemeylem. A CD is also available for tribe members. For more information on the language, see the Language Geek (including keyboard software for typing), Snuneymuxw First Nation with a dictionary, the Halkomelem ethnobiology website for sounds, and the University of Victoria website for basic language lessons.


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