International Mother Language Day
On February 21st, we celebrated International Mother Language Day with an exciting virtual panel showcasing Indigenous youth voices. The panel featured Delaney Lothian, Carolann Jane Duro, and Dewey Hoffman and was moderated by K. David Harrison, an expert in the field of language revitalization.
Below you can find:
A recording of the event
Links to resources mentioned by the panelists
A Q&A section where our Executive Director, Alexa Little, answers unanswered questions from the event
And the social media information for all of the panelists
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Denaakk'e app by 7000 Languages https://www.7000.org/denaakk-e
Native Land map https://native-land.ca/
Q&A (Answered by our Executive Director, Alexa Little)
Dana Chamberlain: “Are your languages open or closed to outsiders?”
Maarrênga' (Serrano) is not open to outsiders.
Denaakk’e is open to outsiders, and you can learn it for free on the 7000 Languages website! https://www.7000.org/denaakk-e
Cree is also open to outsiders. You can learn Swampy Cree for free on the 7000 Languages website: https://www.7000.org/cree. We have courses coming soon in related languages, Michif and Naskapi!
Dylan Temel: “I’m wondering whether and/or how the pandemic has affected your language revitalization efforts.”
The pandemic has enormously impacted language revitalization efforts. At first, it was a barrier, because COVID-19 made it unsafe to meet with Elders or hold community events. Many of our open projects at 7000 Languages were delayed for months until we could find a solution. However, as the pandemic has continued, we have found ways to adapt, and we are seeing that many communities are now open to trying e-learning for their language. We’re optimistic that the pandemic will help create online spaces for language reclamation, and we’re sure that 7000 Languages can be a part of that!
Olivia Waring: “How do the panelists feel about developing orthographies for languages without a formal writing system?”
I don’t believe any of our panelists have worked on an orthography (writing system) for their language. However, I recommend the moving story of Abdoulaye and Ibrahima Barry, who developed the ADLaM alphabet for their language, Fulfulde: https://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/adlam.html.
Aaron Gerry: “Assuming languages are (in part) a product of their environment, how can technology help, hinder, or augment language learning when it takes place out of the original context?”
This is a big topic, but I’ll answer briefly here! Technology alone isn’t enough to revitalize a language. However, technology can be a great tool in language revitalization efforts. Technology like Zoom and Skype enables people to participate in conversations even from a distance. Tools like autocorrect and keyboards make it possible to use the language in the digital realm. And the courses that we create at 7000 Languages allow people to learn words, phrases, and grammar so they feel ready to use the language in real life.
Bill Rivers: “How does 7000 Languages support Indigenous languages?”
The mission of 7000 Languages is to help Indigenous communities around the world teach, learn, and sustain their endangered languages. Using software donated by the language-learning industry, we work with Indigenous nations to create online courses in their language. Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, it is 100% free for communities to create a course and 100% free for anyone to learn on 7000.org. To date, we have created 37 courses in 20 languages and given away over $11 million worth of software. Learn more about our work at https://www.7000.org/donate!
Finally, we received some questions on topics we hope to cover in future events!
Ethical quandaries associated with language documentation and how to avoid them
How COVID-19 has affected language revitalization efforts
How non-Indigenous people can approach learning Indigenous languages respectfully
Activities, events, resources, and tools to support language learning
How technology can support language reclamation
Panelists Social Links:
Dewey Hoffman, Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dewey.k.hoffman/
Carolann Jane Duro, Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/carolannjaneee/
Carolann Jane Duro, Twitter - https://twitter.com/carolannjaneee
Carolann Jane Duro, personal website - https://carolannjaneduro.squarespace.com/
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Register Now! For our upcoming event: Irish-Gaelic Historic and Contemporary Realities which will be held on March 17th, 2021 from 5:30pm ET until 7pm ET.
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- The 7000 Languages Team