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 of the way they were treated when growing up.

Many Tlingit children now have the opportunity to be around their language. It is not enough time to create speakers, but it is more than we could have imagined 30 years ago, or 50. These children are coming home with words, phrases, and songs that they are learning from young teachers and fluent elders. Sometimes their parents might hear these things and continue speaking English in the home, watching English-only television, carrying on without the language. Sometimes adults will hear their children speaking a language they never had a chance to learn, and it will cause suffering. (Source: Juneau Empire)

It’s incredibly sad to think that languages may die out because speakers have been forced to become ashamed of them through bullying. Hopefully through talking through these issues, more people will be inspired to learn languages, particularly indigenous ones.