Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 3

teaching lakota

Shouldn’t the language be taught at home as well?

Speaking the language at home is ideal! If you are a speaker, speak the language with your children and grandchildren as much as you can. Encourage them to answer you in the language.

If you are not a speaker, try to learn alongside your children while they do their language homework. Let them teach you! This will give them a sense of pride and achievement, while at the same time it will reinforce what they have learned.

If you are an adult studying the language on your own, encourage your children to join you in study.

We moved to a different region with a different dialect of the language. Is it OK if the local school teaches my child in a dialect different from the one we use at home?

Most words won’t differ much from region to region, but those that do should be respected and learned. When we use a place’s words properly, we respect the richness of the language.

If an endangered language is an oral tradition, why should I worry about correct spelling?

The one thing that makes a spoken language understood easily between speakers and listeners is correct pronunciation.  Teaching consistent correct pronunciation depends upon spellings that show the sound of the word.

Where does the spelling come from? – More in Part 4


The Language Conservancy provides technical and logistics assistance to indigenous tribes seeking to preserve and revitalize their traditional languages.

(c) 2014 The Language Conservancy

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