Tag Archives: Indigenous languages

Tlingit revitalisation

Tlingit is a native language of Alaska, spoken primarily by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. An interesting article in a Juneau newspaper explores the efforts to revitalise the language, and reasons why this might not be successful. Among the reasons is the shame people associate with the language and culture because(…)

Gmail – now in Cherokee

Google search in Cherokee has been around for a while. Now Cherokee is available in Gmail too! Both include a virtual keyboard that you can use to type the writing system invented by Sequoyah. The project arose when the Oklahoma Cherokee population found that no one under 40 spoke conversational Cherokee. The Cherokee Nation decided(…)

Inuit Bible translation completed

It may have taken 34 years, but the Inuit now have the Bible in their own language. A joint project of the Canadian Bible Society and the Anglican Church, the translation started in 1978. The project cost CDN$1.7 million, with the entire team made up of Anglican ministers who are Inuk. Unusually, the translation was(…)

Guaraní: A flourishing indigenous language?

A fascinating article in the New York Times takes a look at Guaraní, an indigenous language of Paraguay that is spoken by an estimated 90% of the population. We often hear of indigenous languages dying out because of lack of speakers, but Guaraní is different. It’s been supported by governments throughout history, including dictators who(…)

Ark for endangered languages

A new hub for endangered languages has been set up on the Internet. Described as an “ark”, the site features eight “talking dictionaries” featuring dying languages from around the world. The dictionaries feature photos of cultural objects, written words and audio recordings of native speakers pronouncing words and sentences in their language. Some languages are(…)

The Hawaiian Language

Hawaii is the newest of the 50 states; one of only two that do not observe daylight savings time; and has a rich history pre-European contact. It has two official languages: English and Hawaiian. Hawaiian Creole English (or pidgin) is used by many residents of the state, either as a native or second language. The(…)

Can Twitter help endangered languages?

Have you, like me, never used Twitter? This news could tempt us – a computer science professor has set up a website to track tweets from speakers of indigenous and minority languages. Called IndigenousTweets.com, the site currently tracks 82 languages including Cymraeg, Māori and Wolof. There are plans to add more, and some may come(…)

Last remaining speaker of Nuchatlaht language still talking

In the news recently was the story of the two remaining speakers of Ayapaneco, who do not talk to each other. A little closer to home the remaining speaker of Nuchatlaht, an indigenous language of Canada, remains enthusiastic about speaking the language. Alban Michael is 84 years old and has been speaking Nuchatlaht since he(…)

Giving indigenous languages a try

Students at some universities are foregoing traditional languages in favour of learning indigenous languages, according to the LA Times. Rather than taking French, Spanish or Mandarin, the students are learning indigenous Latin American languages such as Zapotec, Quechua and Mixtec. Their reasons for taking the classes are varied – some want to work with the(…)

Researchers discover new language

A new language has been discovered in a remote part of India. The language, Koro, was discovered by a team of linguists who were on an expedition as part of National Geographic’s “Enduring Voices” project on threatened indigenous languages. It is estimated that the language is spoken by around 800 to 1200 people and has(…)