Archive for the ‘Tlingit (tli)’ Category

Aesop and Tlingit

19 May 2011

The great storyteller Aesop lived in Greece more than 2500 years ago. Among his stories is “The Town Mouse and the City Mouse,” in which two mice visit each other’s homes respectively in the country and the city. The city mouse finds the simple fare of the country mouse unappealing, and the country mouse finds the danger of the city unworthy of the fine food.

According to “Children’s book aims to save dying Alaskan language” on the Guardian website, that classic tale has been reworked into Tlingit (tli) with bears instead of mice. Also according to the article, this is the first English book to be translated into Tlingit.

Titled “Aanka Xóodzi ka Aasgutu Xóodzi Shkalneegi,” the book is written by Ernestine Hayes and illustrated by Wanda Culp. The publisher is Hazy Island Books.

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First Nations Language Proficiency Certificate Program

21 March 2011

In Canada, Simon Fraser University, an institution with a First Nations Studies Program, has partnered with the First Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit of the Yukon Department of Education to create a certificate program focused on local languages.

Located in northwest Canada and formerly known as “Yukon Territory”, Yukon is home to eight First Nations languages (YFNPPU). Most have more than one dialect and all are endangered. They are:

In the program, students take linguistics courses geared toward local languages and work toward fluency in a First Nation language through the master apprentice approach. Completion of the program requires 30 credit hours of course work. The brochure says this program would be beneficial to language instructors, administrators, language specialists and those who wish to enhance their language skills, among others.

Alaska Languages – Continuing Award for Collaboration

17 March 2008

Last September, the NSF awarded the University of Alaska Fairbanks just over US$450,000, with Michael Krauss as principal investigator, to study 11 endangered languages in Alaska.

The languages to be studied (with Wikipedia and Ethnologue links) are: Han Athabascan (haa), Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan (kuu), Eyak (eya), Tlingit (tli), Southern Tsimshian (tsi), North Slope Inupiaq (esi), Central Alaskan Yup’ik (esu), Central Siberian Yupik (ess), Alutiiq (ems), Attuan Aleut (ale) and Kodiak Russian Creole, a language of approximately five speakers whose average age is 90 and apparently without a page on either Wikipedia or Ethnologue.

Krauss is joined by a host of prominent language researchers. Their names as well as other details of the award are detailed at “IPY – Documenting Alaskan and Neighboring Languages” as well as Veco Polar (second listing).

This blog entry was prompted by a Tundra Drums article and an EurekAlert article. The amount listed in those articles $1.2 million, and the Talking Alaska blog lists it at $1.4 million. The grant is a continuing grant, so the disparity in numbers probably reflects the way the calculation was made. (The NSF site lists three awards, totaling $1.06 million.)

To keep up with Alaskan and other endangered language issues, subscribe to  Gary Holton’s Talking Alaska blog. An article on Michael Krauss is available on Wikipedia.