Archive for the ‘Cherokee (chr)’ Category

Tribes go to Las Vegas to learn about tech

25 April 2013

To learn how technology can help save their languages, some tribes sent members to Las Vegas in February.

The article “To save endangered languages, tribes turn to tech“* gives few details about the meeting, but does briefly mention Cherokee (chr), Ho-Chunk (Winnebago (win)) and Pit River (Achumawi (acv)).

Also mentioned is Thornton Media, a company that has developed a number of apps and software programs for language revitalization. According to their PDF, they have apps released for 14 languages so far and are working on apps for 12 others. See also Luiseño on Nintendo under Development and RezWorld Demo – Task-based Language Instruction for mention of Thorton Media on this blog.

* There seems to be a glitch with the Boston Globe website. If you get an error, try reloading.

sbuusaɫ sqʷuʔalikʷ dxʷʔal ti dxʷləšucid – 2

23 April 2013

Among the talks at the Fourth Annual Lushootseed Language Conference on Saturday was “Teaching Language Use” by Zalmai ʔəswəli Zahir, who has been teaching Lushootseed (lut) since 1989.

Noting that learning Lushootseed in the classroom does not translate into everyday use, Zahir focused on how to create a speaking environment.

He said that language nests are the only known method that works to revitalize a language. He also mentioned that in addition to  Maori and Hawaiian, languages that language nests have been applied to include Blackfoot, Cherokee, Chinook Wawa and Navajo. He also noted that modern Hebrew (heb) got its start with a language nest (see also Eliezer Ben-Yehuda).

His suggestion was to create a language nest in your home, preferably your kitchen. The steps he outlined are:

  1. Define the room or area where the language nest will be located, discussing the issue with all family members.
  2. Learn vocabulary for micro-domains, such as washing the dishes and cutting up vegetables. By working on one a week, a reasonable vocabulary can be built up in six months. Put up labels.
  3. Launch the nest, allowing only the target language to be spoken there. When friends and family members visit, tell them beforehand about the rules.

Once the nest is well established, language use can be expanded to other domains. Zahir also talked about the importance of maintaining motivation, and how talking to others in the home and the community about the progress of the nest and other aspects of language learning can keep people motivated.

Cherokee and Technology: a Lecture at the University of Washington

23 September 2012

As occasionally noted on this blog, great advances have been made for using Cherokee (chr) in computing, including mobile devices. Because of the unique syllabary (writing system) used in Cherokee, computing adaptation requires special

This upcoming Thursday, the Indigenous Information Research Group (Facebook page) is sponsoring a lecture by Roy Boney, Jr., a Cherokee Nation language preservationist. Titled “Cherokee Language Technology: The Syllabary and the Nation’s History of Technological Adoption,” the lecture will be about the design and development of Cherokee language apps for mobile devices.

When: Thursday, 27 September, 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: Room 416
Fourth Floor, Roosevelt Commons Building
4311 11th Ave NE
Seattle, WA

12-year immersion program – Cherokee

3 October 2011

With the start of the new school year at the Sequoyah Schools in Oklahoma, US, comes an exciting development. Adding sixth grade immersion last month, Sequoyah Schools now has a twelve-year immersion program in Cherokee (chr), the first time since 1956.

Classes are taught completely in Cherokee without the use of English, fostering a strong sense of identity and natural ability with the language.

With the addition of Cherokee to Apple products, students are also using technology to learn and use the language, such as the iPad, a product recently provided to seventh and eighth graders.

This blog post is based on “Cherokee Nation Adds Sixth Grade and iPads to Bolster Native American Education” and “Cherokee Nation adds Sixth-Grade to Immersion School.”

YouTube video of Cherokee iPhone app

17 May 2011

As mentioned on this blog (Tsalagi on the iPhone), there is an iPhone app that assists with learning Cherokee (chr). Here is a YouTube video that demonstrates the app.

The “ᏣᎳᎩ” on the initial screen of the video is tsalagi or Cherokee, written in that language.

An app is an application that works on a smartphone. A smartphone is a mobile phone with a computer-like capacity and the ability to use the internet (more than conventional mobile phones).

Cherokee Google

26 March 2011

Google search now supports Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ)

With help from Cherokee Nation staff and community members, Google has added Cherokee (chr) as an interface language. Part of the interface includes a keyboard for typing in Cherokee. As reported on this blog last year, Cherokee is the first indigenous language to be featured on the iPhone.

All together, Google has 228 localization languages under their Google in Your Language, or GIYL, project. The translation is complete for 22 of them, though it seems not all of those have been approved. As part of their localization project (crowdsourcing), Google has created a community. Learn more at the FAQ.

A small caveat about the 228 languages: That number includes seven varieties of English including three non-serious ones such as Pig Latin, 21 varieties of Spanish and a few other versions generally considered as dialects rather than languages.

Va-Chede, a Dying Script

24 March 2011

Bassa (bsq) is a language spoken in Liberia and Sierra Leone by a slightly more than 400,000 people.

In “A Dying Liberian Language – The Bassa Va-chede” on the 1847 Post, writer Pianapue Early bemoans the disappearance of the Bassa writing system, an alphabetic system also known as Vah or Va-Chede. The Va-Chede is being replaced by a system based on the Latin alphabet.

According to that article and History of the Bassa Script, tradition holds that the Ve-Chede was invented by a man named Dee-Wahdayn who would evidently use his teeth to make imprints on leaves—”va” means spit or throw, referring to the action of Dee-Wahdayn “throwing” the words out of his mouth. Of interest, the article cites Abba Karnga in the out-of-print “My People, the Bassa Tribe” as saying this script was in use when Hanibal visited the area around 520 BCE. During the slave trade era, Bassas would use the Va-Chede to avoid capture.

Most other Internet sources, however, do not give credence to this traditional explanation. A more common explanation is that Va-Chede was invented perhaps in the 1830s by the missionary William Crocker or in the early twentieth century by Dr. Thomas Flo Narvin Lewis. In “A Brief Summary of Liberian Indigenous Scripts,” Tim Slager provides a good summary of the history of the Bassa and other scripts in Liberia. See also the Script Encoding Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley for a summary of Va-Chede.

The forms of the Bassa letters are interesting. Examples are provided on “Bassa Alphabet” and pages 38 to 40 of the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems (Amazon). As of November 2010, Bassa is supported by Unicode, though it does not seem to be available for use yet. XenoType Technologies offers a Bassa language kit for USD 19.

Ve-Chede accounts for tones in the language with dots as shown on “Bassa Language,” the only Liberian script to do so. Va-Chede is evidently the only alphabetic script developed in Africa. An alphabet is a writing system where each sound is represented by one letter. This is opposed to a syllabary like hiragana or Cherokee where entire syllables (or moras) are included in a single symbol, and systems like Chinese characters which are more complex yet.

RezWorld Demo – Task-based Language Instruction

5 March 2011

Thorton Media, Inc. (TMI) creates tools for indigenous languages in Canada and the US. They are the company behind the Tsalagi or Cherokee (chrlanguage app for the iPod/iPhone (see earlier post) and also produce the Language Pal for the Nintendeo DSi (a handheld video game machine).

Alelo is a company that makes interactive 3D video games, the sort where you play a character and interact with computer (or other human) characters.

Together, they have created a pilot for a game to learn languages in an interactive setting. It uses a task-based approach, where the player/learner is given a task to do and uses the target language to complete the task. The concept is that by creating a world that has game qualities, the user will forget they are in a learning environment and instead strive to learn the language while having fun. Named RezWorld, the pilot is in Cherokee and draws on on-rez life.

The game is planned to have as many as 12 levels and is intended to be customizable for any language. TMI is currently seeking a group interested in creating the first full version. The basic price is USD 300,000 for one level and $1 million for a complete set. Once the first game is complete, the price would drop dramatically, with packages estimated as low as $250,000 for a full game.

In addition to a dictionary, grammar explanations and translations, the game would include, as an example:

  • 40 skill building lessons with an aim of at least 1800 vocabulary words
  • 100 dialogs
  • 1000+ exercises and quizzes
  • 1900+ lesson pages
  • 9 Game scenes

To learn more, see their FAQ. To inquire about RezWorld, an iPhone/iPod app, DSi application or other application in your language, see their contact page.

US News in Brief: Bilingual Ed Overview, Salish Immersion, Cherokee Eye Chart

12 February 2011

The Research & Evaluation Division of the Kamehameha Schools in Hawai’i published a short paper in November titled “An Overview of Bilingual Education.” Written by Justin Hong, it provides a succinct look at models/programs and philosophies/goals of bilingual programs. There is also a list of key points that have been learned from bilingual programs, followed by a list of references.

Nk̓ʷusm is a  non-profit organization in Arlee, Montana that operates the Snïiiïo Salish (fla) immersion program for preschool and primary school, with a current enrollment of 30 students. They also have other programs for adults. Nk̓ʷusm also offers a dictionary, CDs and books for sale on their merchandise page.

You know the eye charts with the big “E” at the top used to test your vision? They are now available in Cherokee! The chart was developed by Alex Cruz, an employee at the Kituwah Academy, which offers immersion education in  Cherokee (chr). See Hospital Eye Chart in Cherokee Language for a photo of the eye chart and further details. See also Cherokee Preservation Foundation on Wikipedia for information about cultural revitalization.

Tsalagi on the iPhone

30 November 2010

Exciting news in article “Cherokee language added to new iPhone and iPod software“: “The Cherokee Nation has been working with the software developers at Apple, Inc. for several years to incorporate the tribe’s unique written language, called the Cherokee syllabary, into new technology offered by the software giant. Cherokee is the first Native language to be featured on Apple, Inc. devices, and one of about only 40 languages overall.”