Archive for the ‘Navajo (nav)’ Category

May you walk with great power – Navajo and “Star Wars”

9 May 2013

The 1977 hit movie “Star Wars” is set to debut in Navajo (nav) on July 4.

In a collaboration between the Navajo Nation Museum and Lucasfilm, the new release will include English subtitles.

Translating popular films to Native American languages is rare, though it has happened with the “Berenstain Bears” (Lakota (lkt)) and “Bambi” (Arapaho (arp)).

Read more about this exciting development in “Luke Skywalker goes Navajo: ‘Star Wars’ gets a new translation.”

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.

ANU Tone Workshop

14 April 2011

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language with tones—a change in the pitch of your voice while pronouncing a syllable. Tonal languages are common throughout the world, including Navajo (nav) in the United States and Swedish in Europe.

In February, a tone workshop was held at University of California, Berkeley on the topic of how to study a tone language.

Building on that knowledge, a follow-up workshop will be held in December at the Australian National University in Canberra. Participants will spend time learning about tones and then work on analyzing a specific language. The end product will be an edited collection of papers produced by the participants.

When: December 5-16, 2011, following the annual conference of the Australian Linguistic Society
Where: Australian National University, Canberra, AU
Registration: To be announced in May
Website: ANU Tone Workshop

Coyote Papers Filled with Navajo

3 April 2011

As graduate students work toward their degrees, an important step in becoming a recognized scholar is the publication of articles (often called monographs). To help with this, linguistics departments may have a publication that graduate students can publish their working papers (papers in progress) in.

At the University of Arizona, US, the working papers journal for linguistics is called the “Coyote Papers.” Many of the monographs are available online, including the entire 2008 edition, which has six articles, all with a focus on indigenous languages: five featuring Navajo (nav) and one on the Athabaskan language family. (The Athabaskan family has a northern and southern branch as well as some languages on the Pacific Coast.)

The contents of the 2010 edition, volume 16, are:

  • Introduction to Navajo Language Studies – Amy V. Fountain
  • An Optimality-Theoretic Analysis of Navajo Sibilant Harmony – Stacey Oberly
  • Tone, Intonation, Stress and Duration in Navajo – Emily Kidder
  • Evidentiality in Athabaskan – Ferdinand de Haan
  • A Unification of Indo-European Aktionsart and Navajo Verb Theme Categories –
    Sumayya Racy
  • An Experiment in Computational Parsing of the Navajo Verb – Mans Hulden and Shannon T. Bischoff

Although the more recent 2010 edition and some other recent editions do not have topics on endangered languages, the 2004 edition is dedicated to American indigenous languages. Languages featured include: Aymara (family), Capanahua (kaq), the Ehe dialect of Kurripako (Maipurean (kpc)), Kaska (kkz), Nez Perce (nez) and Southern Ute (ute). Also, Erin Haynes has an article titled, “Obstacles Facing Tribal Language Programs in Warm Spring, Klamath, and Grand Ronde.”

For a full list of all the editions, see “Coyote Papers:Working Papers in Linguistics.”

Navajo Immersion Program Established

5 February 2011

With plans to expand through fifth grade, year by year, the Central Consolidated School District in Shiprock, New Mexico, has begun a Diné (Navajo) immersion program with a kindergarten class. Read more in the Daily Times: District offers first Navajo immersion program