Of the 6,000+ languages still spoken across the world, over the course of the next century, 50% will no longer resound across our planet and will become extinct. Learn more about the swelling wave of language extinctions and how you can help prevent these cultural losses.
Google Art Project / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
TLC Australia is official!
The Language Conservancy-Australia became an officially registered Australian nonprofit. TLC-Australia will serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are looking forward to helping with language revitalization efforts throughout the country.
Stoney Nakoda speakers gather for rerecord session
Last week, twenty-four Stoney Nakoda speakers met in Cochrane, Alberta, for a week-long rerecord workshop. This session allowed Native speakers to review words collected during last September's rapid word collection where over 13,000 words were gathered. Participants were split into eight groups of 3 speakers, with each group containing a male and female elder. Elders reviewed the spelling and glosses of words while also providing high-quality recordings of each word's pronunciation. Word collection and review is a vital part of the ongoing creation of Stoney Nakoda resources, including a dictionary, a textbook, a vocab builder app, and audio recordings of picture books.
Stay tuned for updates on these projects by liking the Stoney Nakoda Language Project Facebook page.
Ben Black Bear and Marcel Bull Bear have a conversation for a new podcast
New Lakota podcast being developed
If you were at the Lakota Nation Invitational December 2019 in Rapid City, you might have seen Shania Black Bear Searby and Allen Wilson interviewing elders (or been interviewed yourself). Shania and Allen are currently working on developing a podcast that will help tell the story of Lakota elders and their relationship to the language.
Shania asked interviewees about their hope for the Lakota language and revitalization efforts as well as what they feel is needed to help in these efforts. The podcast will feature the personal narratives of these elders, including stories told in Lakota. It will also highlight efforts for language revitalization happening on the community level. This is a bilingual effort for both speakers and learners alike to increase their love for the language.
The podcast is still in development, and a website is expected this summer. Shania and Allen are still looking for interviewees to tell their stories and/or share their language revitalization efforts! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to schedule an interview. Follow Lakota Language Consortium on Facebook to stay up to date on its release.
Survey shows Lakota Berenstain Bears impact
When Stan and Jan Berenstain created The Berenstain Bears in 1962, they probably had no idea that their cartoon bears would one day help revitalize an indigenous language. When the Lakota Language Consortium and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe wanted to bring a family-friendly Lakota program to viewers' televisions, The Berenstain Bears cartoon was the perfect fit. With the permission of Berenstain Enterprises, Inc., the organizations worked together to gather native speakers to dub the original audio with the Lakota language. Thus, the Lakota Berenstain Bears (Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe) was created as a modern immersive Lakota program.
The Lakota Berenstain Bears has served as a resource for Lakota language learners both young and old. Recently, TLC reached out to viewers of the cartoon to get an idea of how they were using the Lakota Berenstain Bears for their own learning or to help teach others.
Around 65% of survey participants used the videos as learners, with 27% using them as a teaching tool for their children, and 8% using them in the classroom as teachers.
Here's some testimonials from those who used the videos as learners: "I found it very refreshing and new. It's a cartoon for kids, but I was amazed by how happy I felt watching it and hearing Lakota being spoken in something I grew up watching in English."
"I used the show to learn more vocabulary. It also helped with my intonation and learning the rhythm of the language better."
One viewer said that the show has served as a bonding experience with her mother who is a fluent Lakota speaker. Multiple viewers responded that being able to comprehend what the characters are saying gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Multiple parents told us about how they used the cartoon in their house to let their children be fully immersed in their language. "My son loves the show. He [...] will sit and watch Lakota version all day. It reminds him of his grandparents who speak Lakȟótiyapi to him."
Teachers told us that they use the show in their classroom, sometimes having students write down words that they recognize as they watch the show. Some teachers used the written script as a tool to have students follow along with the episode.
Each survey participant wanted to see more episodes produced.
TLC wanted to know what native speakers thought the value of resources like these are. One participant summarized why the Lakota Berenstain Bears is so important for them: "This is one of the most effective and simple ways for me to make sure Lakȟótiyapi is being heard and spoken in my home every day, even when we're really busy. I can always count on it. I have a rule that my daughter isn't allowed to watch mindless cartoons so this is one of the only shows she is allowed to watch and it's important to all of us. I live in Phoenix so I cannot take her to immersion school. I need this as a resource."
You can learn more about the Lakota Berenstain Bears here: https://www.lakotabears.com/
Apply now for summer Language Warrior Internship
Are you interested in revitalizing indigenous languages? Do you want to learn the tools of the trade from one of the leading language conservation organizations in the country?
The Language Conservancy is now offering two paid internships for this summer. This internship offers the opportunity to gain experience within all departments of TLC, including IT, linguistics, PR, graphic design, events planning, grant writing, customer support, shipping/sales, and bookkeeping. Housing and travel stipend provided.
To be eligible, you must be at least 19 years of age, a current student, and an enrolled indigenous community member. Interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to apply April 15.
The Owóksape app is being updated to continue improving the language learning app. Updates will include user-interface improvements, multiple audio tracks featuring male and female voices, forum layout improvements, social share features, as well as optimizations for the loading of the Leaderboard and Path features. The next release will contain a beginner vocabulary track containing 56 new units and over 2,000 words. Follow The Language Conservancy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on all the Owóksape news.
March 8--NYU Language Meetup
The Lakȟóta Language Class's semester is underway! The next Language Meetup will be on March 8 on the NYU campus. More information can be found here: https://lakhotanyc.com/
March 23-27--Crow Rerecord Workshop
Crow tribal members will meet with TLC staff to review the Crow Dictionary March 23-27 at Little Big Horn College. This rerecord is the next step following December's Crow dictionary workshop and allows native speakers to review pronunciation and spelling. Follow Crow Language Consortium to stay up to date on all future Crow language projects.
April 4-5--NYU Lakota Language Weekend
The next Lakota Language Weekend at NYU will be April 4-5. This serves as a great introduction to learning the Lakota language and no prior experience with the language is required. Register here: https://bit.ly/2TmEI2l
May 26-June 5--Apache Summer Institute
SAVE THE DATE! The 2nd Annual San Carlos Apache Summer Institute is coming to San Carlos this May. This free event gives participants resources and techniques to effectively teach the Apache language. Register here: https://bit.ly/2HYWGkY
June 1-12--Lakota Summer Institute South
SAVE THE DATE! The Lakota Summer Institute South will take place from June 1-12 at Oglala Lakota College. It will offer courses for residents of Pine Ridge. More information and registration here: https://bit.ly/2PosqnU
June 8-26--Crow Summer Institute
SAVE THE DATE! The 8th Annual Crow Summer Institute will be held June 8-26 at Little Big Horn College. This professional development institute offers credits and CEUs to teachers and others hoping to grow their Crow language communication and teaching skills. Register here: https://bit.ly/2TnBls2
July 6-24--Lakota Summer Institute North
SAVE THE DATE! Lakota Summer Institute-North will be held July 6-24 at University of North Dakota. Registration is live here: https://bit.ly/2HVBYTb.
Scholarship for Lakota Summer Institute North
New York indigenous residents between ages 18-24 are eligible for a scholarship for Lakota Summer Institute-North. Apply here: https://bit.ly/37YWblJ.