Archive for the ‘languages – spoken’ Category

High school senior revitalizing Salish

11 May 2013

Vance Home Gun, a high school senior, created an organization named “Yoyoot skwkwimlt” to promote Salish, also known as Montana Salish (fla). Read an interview with Gun in “Language Preservation Made Vance Home Gun a Champion for Change.”


Cree broadcast wins journalism award

11 May 2013

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, has dozens of locations in Canada and around the world, including CBC North, which provides TV and radio broadcasts in languages such as Chipewyan (chp), Cree (cre), Dogrib (dgr), Gwich’in (gwi), Inuktitut (ike), Inuvialuk (ikt), North Slavey (scs) and South Slavey (xsl).

This past weekend, the Canadian Association of Journalists held their annual conference, including an awards ceremony. Among the winners was the episode “Breaking the mold,” broadcast on the Cree-language Maamuitaau program.

Learn more in the article “Serving Canada’s north – excellence in 8 aboriginal languages” on the Editor’s Blog of CBC News.

Opposition to lottery system for kindergarten in Hawai’i

11 May 2013

As outlined in “Pūnana Leo,” the introduction of the language nest in Hawai’i, using Hawaiian as the medium of instruction, faced many legal and social hurdles. According to the ʻAha Pūnana Leo website, there are now 21 immersion schools in Hawaiʻi, educating about 2,000 students from preschool through twelfth grade.

Educating keiki, or children, in Hawaiian has become so popular that in Pāʻia, they ran out of space in the program. With space for 40 children, applications were received for 53 children. Pāʻia Elementary School decided to hold a lottery to decide which children would be admitted.

But the idea of a lottery is opposed by Nā Leo Kākoʻo O Maui, a not-for-profit organization that supports Hawaiian language immersion. According to Kaheleonolani Dukelow, an organizer for a demonstration against the lottery, a lottery would never be held to determine which children are given an English education, and so it isn’t right to hold a lottery for Hawaiian education.

Read more in “Hawaiian Immersion Lottery at Pāʻia School Postponed.”

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.”

Veps: At an educational and economic disadvantage

8 May 2013

You need to pass an English exam to get into the university and people are concerned that speaking Veps (vep) won’t help you land a job.

Like many endangered languages around the world, Veps is at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting speakers. Nevertheless, there is hope as young people find they enjoy the language and a Vepsian theater group has started up.

According to Wikipedia, Veps has 23 grammatical cases.

Read more at “I fear our language will die.”

Reviving Barngarla from 19th century dictionary

7 May 2013

Once spoken in South Australia, Barngarla (bjb) is making a comeback from written records and elders’ memories.

The awakening of the language is being led by the Chair of Endangered Languages at Adelaide University, Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who has vowed to make Adelaide a center of language revitalization.

The primary source for words is a dictionary written in the 1840s. Read more about the reawakening of Barngarla in “Pride and identity: Reviving Indigenous languages” and “Australia’s unspeakable indigenous tragedy.” Read about Ghil’ad Zuckermann in “Endangered languages have a new champion.”

Findings from Annatuinniniq Uqausittinik Conference

7 May 2013

The Annatuinniniq Uqausittinik Conference was held in Kangiqsujuaq, Canada, from 16 to 18 April.

Focused on Inuktitut (ike), the conference discussed the need for an action plan to save Inuktitut. There was also a youth panel discussion that revealed a generational gap, such as youth who want modern terminology and elders who have trouble understanding the English vocabulary and grammar that youth use when speaking Inuktitut.

Among the findings of the conference:

  • An Inuktitut language authority is needed,
  • More interactions between youth and elders are needed, and
  • More training is needed for teachers

See “Nunavik conference seeks action plan to save Inuktitut” for more details and the Avataq Cultural Institute Facebook page for Inuit culture and language.

Interpreters needed in San Francisco to serve 20K ethnic Mayans

3 May 2013

According to “Native Tongue,” there are an estimated 20,000 people of Mayan heritage in San Francisco, many of which do not speak Spanish. When legal or other services are required, it is difficult to find interpreters.

Among the languages in demand are Ch’ol (ctu), K’iche‘ (quc), Mam (mam), Ts’eltal or Tzeltal (tzh), Uspanteko or Uspantek (usp), and Yucatec Maya (yua).

Classes are being offered to help interpreters deliver better services to their clients.

Latin contest

1 May 2013

High schools in the US recently competed in a Latin competition that included grammar, geography, Greek derivatives and vocabulary.

The contest is called a “certamen,” a Latin word meaning “competition.”

Although this year’s contest questions have not yet been posted, you can see the questions and answers from past years at the Texas State Junior Classical League website.

For a list of many of the students and other details, see the article “Local students prove Latin is no dead language” in the Westlake Picayune.

Education and skills department cuts Irish language services

1 May 2013

Citing financial restrictions and a lack of personnel skilled in Irish, the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland has greatly curtailed the services it provides in Irish.

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, the central steering committee for the Irish-speaking community, will be discussing this issue with the Department and others.

Read more at “Department of Education and Skills revokes Irish language services.”