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.”

Global Storybooks: From Arabic to Zulu, freely available digital tales in 50+ languages (The Conversation)

From The Conversation, with a big thanks to Garth W. who pointed it out: Global Storybooks: From Arabic to Zulu, freely available digital tales in 50+ languages. “This portal hosts custom sites with multilingual open-licensed books for over 40 countries and regions on five continents. Our vision is to help democratize global flows of information and resources, to facilitate language learning — including Indigenous languages — and to promote literacy.”

CBC: New Cree language app targets students, teachers and newcomers

CBC: New Cree language app targets students, teachers and newcomers. “More than 150 elders from five northern Alberta First Nations have contributed to a new tool designed to preserve Cree words and phrases. The free app, KTCEA Elders Speak, is a product of the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority, which oversees six schools within five northern Alberta First Nations: Peerless Trout First Nation, Whitefish Lake First Nation, Loon River First Nation, Lubicon Lake Band, and Woodland Cree First Nation.”

CBC: Why this ‘language geek’ provides hundreds of Indigenous language tools for free

New-to-me, from CBC: Why this ‘language geek’ provides hundreds of Indigenous language tools for free. “Chris Harvey had a ‘pivotal moment’ when he was in Grade 7. He found a book in the library on how to speak Moose Cree. That’s where he discovered syllabics, what he calls the language of his northern neighbours, and hasn’t looked back since. Harvey, 47, is the man behind… a site that provides keyboards and fonts in more than 100 Indigenous languages, including all of the ones in northern Canada, as well as languages in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.”

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.”

TechCrunch: Microsoft adds Māori to translator as New Zealand pushes to revitalize the language

TechCrunch: Microsoft adds Māori to translator as New Zealand pushes to revitalize the language. “The benefits of machine translation are easy to see and experience for ourselves, but those practical applications are only one part of what makes the technology valuable. Microsoft and the government of New Zealand are demonstrating the potential of translation tech to help preserve and hopefully breathe new life into the Māori language.”

Creative Commons: Indian State of Odisha Releases 21 Dictionaries Under CC BY

Creative Commons: Indian State of Odisha Releases 21 Dictionaries Under CC BY. “Recently, CC India’s Global Network Representative (GNC) Subhashish Panigrahi brought to our attention that the Indian state of Odisha licensed 21 dictionaries—in all 21 Indigenous languages that are spoken in the province—under CC BY 4.0. This opens them up for adaptation, distribution, and remixing by anyone.”

RNZ: Digital platform to ease access of te reo Māori for 21st century conversations

RNZ: Digital platform to ease access of te reo Māori for 21st century conversations. “Northland based Te Hiku Media and Dragonfly Data Science have been awarded $13 million over seven years by the government to create a platform, Papa Reo, which will digitise 25 years worth of te reo Māori archives…. The world-irst project will create a te reo digital dataset large enough to be used for machine learning to create chat bots, online education, games, transcription of archival material, and real-time captioning in te reo Māori.”

Phys .org: Research team developing Indigenous languages app

Phys .org: Research team developing Indigenous languages app . “… [Dr. Marguerite] Koole, an assistant professor of curriculum studies in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), is working with a team of teachers, researchers and programmers from across campus in order to launch a web-based database to help educators revive Indigenous languages. The database, named wîcêhtowin, contains information and links to websites, video/audio repositories, and apps designed to improve language knowledge.”

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.”

University of Calgary: Blackfoot Oral Stories Database brought to life by ii’ taa’poh’to’p grant

New-to-me, from the University of Calgary: Blackfoot Oral Stories Database brought to life by ii’ taa’poh’to’p grant. “These stories have helped us to understand the underlying structure of the language and the ways in which it is similar to and different from other languages. But, as we did this work, it became increasingly clear to us that we can and must use our linguistic training to share the stories as they were intended — with members of the community. With this understanding, in 2016, Dr. Heather Bliss, PhD, adjunct assistant professor in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures created the Blackfoot Oral Stories Database, an online repository of oral stories. Since that time, the database has grown to include over 100 stories told by more than 20 storytellers.”

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.”

Southwestern Community College: WBL student helps archive Cherokee documents

Southwestern Community College: WBL student helps archive Cherokee documents. “Over the past 15 years, the Cherokee Language Program (CLP) at Western Carolina University has compiled and digitized thousands of Cherokee language documents and media files. Only problem was that staff members had no way to catalog or search for topics within the database.”