2014 News

Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Conclusion

What can I do to help revitalize an endangered language?  Even one person making the effort to learn and use an endangered language gives that language a better chance of survival. If you are not a speaker and want to learn, you can become an active self-learner by using quality language materials. Using Lakota as an example, the New Lakota Diction
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Stepping Up to the Work of It

After a high-energy first day at Sitting Bull College, the second day of the Lakota Summer Institute, Crow Summer Institute and MHA Summer Institute is the day when everyone comes down to Earth and realizes that this language-learning thing is work. After a day split into two classes, the Lakota Phonology class of 40 people decided to recombine int
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Three Language Institutes Begin Today

This is a historic week at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The campus is bustling as three Summer Institutes begin classes today, for teachers and learners of five endangered Native American languages of the Northern Plains: Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Lakota. All three Institutes are annual t
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Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 5

“Thinking” in the language I’m studying seems very different from “thinking” in English.  Do I have to learn the indigenous thinking before I can learn the language? As you learn the language you learn the thinking – they go hand in hand. Language students who have achieved both fluency and understanding can confirm that the more you know the langu
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Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 4

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. Pronunciation is learned and remembered most effectively by writing and reading spellings that show the sound of the word. Among indigenous t
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Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 3

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
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Hotel Rates Drop for MHASI!

Great news — hotel room rates have been lowered at the Prairie Knights Casino Hotel for attendees of the MHA Summer Institute! The previous $70/night rate has dropped to $50/night. Plus, Sitting Bull College has opened up its dormitories for $10/night during MHASI, Sunday June 1 to Saturday, Jun 21. So you can still register here to attend MH
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Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 2

What ensures the best quality of endangered language instruction in schools? Three things: 1) Support the teachers, 2) support the teachers, and 3) support the teachers. You mean money? It’s not about a paycheck – although that confers professional status and pride. At the core of real support is a fundamental acceptance that the endangered languag
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Revitalizing an Endangered Language – Part 1

How is it possible to revitalize an endangered language? When a language is suppressed by the state (such as Catalan in Spain and all of the Native languages of the Americas), it will either disappear or be sustained secretly by committed speakers. Then when state restrictions lift, the remaining speakers may be elders who are wary of attempts to m
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