Library and Archives Canada Blog: Archives as resources for revitalizing First Nations languages

Library and Archives Canada Blog: Archives as resources for revitalizing First Nations languages. “Since colonial contact, government policies have caused the displacement and separation of our people from their families, communities, lands and languages. Attempts at assimilation, such as the establishment of residential schools and the ongoing Millennium Scoop, have distanced multiple generations from their languages and cultures. Canada recognizes only English and French as official languages. First Nations communities have therefore taken leadership in ensuring that their languages are maintained, relearned and passed down. The decline in the natural inheritance of language through kinship has led to the rise of language-preservation and language-revitalization projects.”

St. Albert Today: St. Albert’s Métis museum goes international

St. Albert Today: St. Albert’s Métis museum goes international. “A St. Albert museum has gone online and international to help keep the Michif language alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Albert’s Michif Cultural Connections is now hosting free weekly online meetings where people can learn to speak Michif, the traditional language of the Métis.”

Phys .org: Model shows Welsh language in no danger of extinction but te reo Māori is on its way out

Phys .org: Model shows Welsh language in no danger of extinction but te reo Māori is on its way out. “A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in New Zealand has developed a mathematical model that can be used to predict whether a language is at risk of disappearing. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the group describes their model and how it can be used.”

Western Carolina University: Graduate student working to translate Cherokee language from native newspaper

Western Carolina University: Graduate student working to translate Cherokee language from native newspaper. “Constance Owl’s master’s degree thesis is more than a means to a graduate degree in American history. It’s a portal to understanding, and perhaps saving, a disappearing language. Owl, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who grew up in Cherokee County, is a second-year graduate student at Western Carolina University. She is working with local Cherokee language speakers, Tom Belt and Wiggins Blackfox, to translate portions of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, published from about 1828 to 1834 by Elias Boudinot, a formally educated Cherokee.”

Forward: Happy Ladino Day — How To Celebrate An Endangered Language

Forward: Happy Ladino Day — How To Celebrate An Endangered Language. “Also known as Judeo-Spanish, or Judezmo, Ladino is a Romance language — a variety of Spanish that includes both words and phrases from Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Greek, French, and Italian. It originally developed in medieval Christian Spain; after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, it developed independently of Iberian Spanish. Spanish speakers can often understand Ladino, despite the centuries of distance, and some important differences.”

VentureBeat: The Masakhane project wants machine translation and AI to transform Africa

VentureBeat: The Masakhane project wants machine translation and AI to transform Africa. “English, Arabic, and French dialects can be found on parts of the African continent and are used across tribes, ethnic groups, and national borders, but none is native to Africa. Some estimates put the number of living languages on the continent at 2,000 or more. This can stand in the way of communication as well as commerce, and earlier this year such concerns led to the creation of the Masakhane open source project, an effort being undertaken by African technologists to translate African languages using neural machine translation.”

CBC: Stoney Nakoda word collection helps preserve language for future generations

CBC: Stoney Nakoda word collection helps preserve language for future generations. “Stoney Nakoda elder Terry Rider leans forward and carefully pronounces a Stoney word into a microphone. It’s a big responsibility for him and the four others gathered in one of several booths in a back room at the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino west of Calgary. The recordings and spellings they provide will be used by future generations on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, keeping the language alive in that community.”

Slate: The Complicated Decisions That Come With Digitizing Indigenous Languages

Slate: The Complicated Decisions That Come With Digitizing Indigenous Languages. “When Europeans first made contact with tribes across the continent, more than 2,000 languages were being spoken. Today, after centuries of forced relocations, broken treaties, abusive residential schools, and other discriminatory practices, only 256 languages are spoken. A full 199 are endangered, according to the Catalogue of Endangered Languages. Yet even after everything those communities endured, they’re fighting for their words—and the ability to protect them. New technology like smartphone keyboards, language-learning apps, and digital databases makes revitalization work easier than ever, but it also requires hard conversations about which parts of a language must be kept offline.”

Alaska Native News: National Science Foundation Supports Additional Alutiiq Language Research

Alaska Native News: National Science Foundation Supports Additional Alutiiq Language Research. “With a $56,462 grant from the National Science Foundation (award #1360839), the Alutiiq Museum will extend its Naken–Natmen (Where From–Where To) language project for an additional year. First funded in 2014, the multi-year project improved access to Alutiiq language resources by developing an online archive of Alutiiq recordings, creating an Alutiiq speaker registry, and planning future language documentation projects. Now, a supplemental grant will allow the museum to study rare examples of written Alutiiq preserved in historic texts.”

NPR: Historic Recordings Revitalize Language For Passamaquoddy Tribal Members

NPR: Historic Recordings Revitalize Language For Passamaquoddy Tribal Members. “Dwayne Tomah sits at his kitchen table in Perry, Maine, and pulls up an audio file on his computer. When he hits play, the speakers emit a cracked, slightly garbled recording. Through the white noise, Tomah scratches out the words he hears, rewinding every few seconds. Word by word, Tomah is attempting to transcribe and interpret dozens of recordings of Passamaquoddy tribal members, some of which are only recently being heard and publicly shared for the first time in more than a century.”

CBC: Hear Indigenous language speakers from around the globe through Google Earth

CBC: Hear Indigenous language speakers from around the globe through Google Earth. “Users of Google Earth are now able to hear over 50 Indigenous language speakers from across the globe saying words and simple phrases and even singing traditional songs. The project, called Celebrating Indigenous Languages, is designed to honour the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.”

Tweeting in Zapotec: Social Media as a Tool for Language Activists (Academia)

Academia: Tweeting in Zapotec: Social Media as a Tool for Language Activists. “Social media is used by speakers of languages big and small. For languages with a small number of speakers, social media may offer opportunities not easily available elsewhere, such as low-cost publishing and distribution of text. Furthermore, smaller languages are often devalued by surrounding communitiesÑin these situations, the use of language in global media, such as Twitter, can have additional layers of impact and can be a form of language activism in itself.”

New Indian Express: Kerala makes digital content in tribal languages for the first time in country

New Indian Express: Kerala makes digital content in tribal languages for the first time in country. “In a first in the country, the State Institute of Educational Technology (SIET), an autonomous institution under the General Education Department, has made digital contents in tribal languages so as to make tribal children learn their own languages in a much easier way.”

RV Newsletter: Amplifying African voices sharing the importance of linguistic diversity online (Rising Voices)

Rising Voices: RV Newsletter: Amplifying African voices sharing the importance of linguistic diversity online . “To coincide with the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, Rising Voices together with partners, launched a new Twitter campaign to highlight and amplify the voices of African language digital activists leveraging the power of technology and the internet to promote and revitalize African languages. The campaign kicked off on March 20, 2019 with the first host, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún from Nigeria, a linguist and creative writer who has been working on the YorubaName.com project among other initiatives. For the rest of 2019, a different language activist and advocate will be sharing their stories on the Twitter account @DigiAfricanLang.”

Voice of America News: Wikitongues Seeks to Save World’s Dying Languages

Voice of America News: Wikitongues Seeks to Save World’s Dying Languages. “Wikitongues was launched in 2016 as an open internet collection of world languages. The self-described ‘community’ is operated by volunteers from around the world. The collection is in the form of language videos that people add to the Wikitongues website. Wikitongues says that, even with the internet’s wide reach, less than 1 percent of all languages are actively represented online. The organization seeks to serve as an internet resource to connect users who wish to keep a language alive.”