Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ

18 May 2013

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ is “stop,” as now found on stop signs in the Canadian territory Nunavut.

This month, the Official Languages Act came into force in Nunavat. According to the text of the law:

  • “The Inuit Language, English and French are the Official Languages of Nunavut,”
  • “To the extent and in the manner provided under this Act, the Official Languages of Nunavut have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in territorial institutions,” and
  • Priority must be given to “the revitalization of Inuinnaqtun.”

Read more in “Nunavut Official Languages Act Comes into Force.”

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.

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.

Call for an English public access channel in Quebec

29 April 2013

According to Wikipedia, 80.1% of the Quebec population is francophonic. It also says that in 2006:

  1. 575,560 (7.7 percent of population) people in Quebec declared English to be their mother tongue,
  2. 744,430 (10.0 percent) mostly used English as their home language, and
  3. 918,955 (12.9 percent according to the 2001 Census) reported English to be their First Official language spoken.

The Gazette of Montreal today carried a special opinion piece today calling for a public access channel to be created for anglophonic artists (“CRTC should pressure Videotron…“)

Citing the figure of 8,000 people in Quebec’s anglophonic artist community plus more than a million francophones who speak English, opinion-writer Borkowsky says the government should renew the operating license of cable operator Vidéotron only if such a channel is created.

“We Are Our Language”

3 July 2012

Published last year, “We Are Our Language: An Ethnography of Language Revitalization in a Northern Athabaskan Community” is a volume by Barbra A. Meek, associate professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Michigan.

According to the book’s page,

The process must mend rips and tears in the social fabric of the language community that result from an enduring colonial history focused on termination. These “disjunctures” include government policies conflicting with community goals, widely varying teaching methods and generational viewpoints, and even clashing ideologies within the language community.

The language that is the focus of the book is Kaska (kkz), a language spoken in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. According to a review by Patrick Moore in last fall’s edition of Anthropological Linguistics, the book discusses how focusing on elders in revitalization alienates younger speakers.

Google previews of the book are available at “We Are Our Language.” The table of contents are:

  • Ruptured: Kaska in Context
  • Endangered Languages and the Process of Language Revitalization
  • Growing Up Endangered
  • Manufacturing Legitimate Languages
  • “We Are Our Language”: The Political Discourses of Language Endangerment
  • From Revitalization to Socialization: Disjuncture and Beyond
 This book is the part of a series titled “First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies,” a collaboration of four university presses.

App for 100+ languages

1 July 2012

The Cherokee app was released for the iPhone in 2010 (see “YouTube video of Cherokee iPhone app” on this blog). Cherokee has a  writing system (Cherokee syllabary) requiring 85 or 86 unique symbols for writing.

Starting in October 2011, FirstVoices has released a series of apps for use on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch:

Each is a free app with educational content.

While the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch have an easy interface for switching among languages, there are many languages that require characters not available. On 18 June, FirstVoices released their FirstVoices Chat app that provides characters for more than 100 languages spoken in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

Also free, the FirstVoices Chat app allows you to set up to seven languages to type in.

Job opening in Vancouver area – language coordinator

30 May 2012

Two days ago, the First Nations Education Steering Committee posted a job opening for a first nations language and culture coordinator. The job entails managing and coordinating initiatives of the FNESC and the First Nations Schools Association, providing leadership and acting as a liaison to various groups.

Skills required include an understanding of First Nations education issues, an education degree and three years of teaching experience including work in the field of First Nations languages .

The application period is through 11 June. The post is in West Vancouver, BC.

Finding the Words

10 May 2012

CBC recently ran a fourteen-part series on languages in southern Alberta. Called “Finding the Words,” the audio broadcasts cover languages such as Blackfoot (bla), Tsuu T’ina or Sarcee (srs) and Stoney (sto).

Topics include why languages are falling silent, how native language use correlates to lower suicide rates, and three- and four-year-olds who have begun responding in Blackfoot after being taught by elder Beverly Hungry Wolf in a preschool program.

Ktunaxa on the Internet

4 May 2012

Two days ago, Al Jazeera posted a great story on how the Ktunaxa are using the Internet and the FirstVoices website to revitalize their language, Kutenai (kut). It includes a 22-minute video. Canada: The Ktunaxa 

Job advertisement in Whitehorse Canada

28 June 2011

The Council of Yukon First Nations is seeking a language revitalization administrator. See 3068 for further details. The deadline is July 7.