Race for Native Language Technology

mathias | February 25, 2011

Around UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day (February 21, 2011), K. David Harrison, Director of Research of the Living Tongues Institute, which recently teamed up with National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project, recently pointed to the role of technology in helping endangered languages flourish in the digital age – like chatrooms for Cherokee, web browser for Inuktitut [...]

Cree TV

mathias | February 21, 2011

The Vancouver produced television show “Tansi! Nehiyawetan” (Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 AM on APTN) is introducing Cree language and culture to young viewers in its third season of 13 half-hour episodes. Guest stars like Debra Sparrow, a Musqueam weaver, John B. Herrington (Chickasaw), who was the first Native to walk in space – not [...]

Does ‘Okay’ Come from a Native Language?

mathias | February 18, 2011

There are several running theories on the etymology of ‘okay’ in English, which has been imported into so many languages (in part because they usually have /k/, low, and mid or at least high vowels). Unlike ‘good’ or ‘ehh’, it allows the speaker to express neutrality, though it usually connotes positivity. According to Merriam Webster, [...]

Jessie Little Doe Baird Gives a Talk on Reviving Wampanoag

mathias | February 17, 2011

Meet, Native language linguistics legend and Jessie “Little Doe” Baird, if you haven’t heard of her already. She wrote grammar on Wampanoag (a centuries extinct dialect of the Algonquian, Massachusett-Wampanoag language) from a translation of the Bible and some other early missionary works – Jessie Little Doe Fermino. 2000. “An Introduction to Wampanoag Grammar,” Massachusetts [...]

New Onondaga Texts Discovered and Pre-Columbian Petroglyphs Explored

mathias | February 10, 2011

Under a 100k National Endowment for the Humanities grant, professor of German and Humanities Katie Faull from Bucknell University (PA) was translating old diaries written in Moravian (Czeck) when she came across letters written in the Onondaga (Iroquois) language, which has around 65-115 remaining speakers, but most use it ceremonially. She gave the current chief [...]

Myaamia Project

mathias | February 9, 2011

Native tribes in Illinois, and parts of Indiana, Missouri and Ohio spoke the Miami-Illinois language (Algonquian) until the mid 20th century. Descendents of these speakers belong to the Miami and Peoria tribes, which ended up in Oklahoma. However, the language isn’t considered extinct, rather, “sleeping”, since Daryl Baldwin taught himself the language from print materials [...]

Alutiiq Living Words Project a Success

mathias | February 3, 2011

As Rosetta Stone works on North Slope Alaskan languages, the NSF DEL (National Science Foundation’s Documenting Endangered Languages program) has been funding the Alutiiq Museum program Alutiiq Living Words since 2007. The project is archiving recordings from elder speakers and pairing elder speakers with semi-fluent speakers to bring them up to speed. Initiatives include a [...]

Natural American Spirit Producers Donate 50k to Scholarships for Natives

mathias | February 2, 2011

The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, makers of those cigarettes with an Indian smoking a peace pipe on the box, donated over $50,000 to the American Indian College Fund. The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Foundation grants financial assistance to organizations that support the preservation, promotion, and advancement of American Indian self-sufficiency and culture in [...]

Funds for Lakota Language Efforts Surge in 2011

mathias | February 1, 2011

Yesterday was the last day of January, a terrific month for Native languages, particularly Lakota. In a professional development effort to train more fluent, certified Lakota language teachers for more intensive immersion programs, both the University of South Dakota School of Education and the Sitting Bull College Education Department (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, [...]

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