The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language

Pelehonuamea Suganuma and Kekoa Harman were bright-eyed high schoolers in Honolulu when they first crossed paths, in the 1990s. The two were paired for a performance—a ho‘ike, as such shows are known in Hawaiian. Both teenagers had a passion for hula and mele (Hawaiian songs and chants), and they liked performing at the school they’d [...]

By |2020-11-17T18:44:23+00:00November 17th, 2020|Endangered language, Hawaii, Hawaiian language|0 Comments

The drive to preserve the Lil’wat language

In mid-March, Valerie St-Arnaud and her husband Dave Leveille found themselves hurtling cross-country in a large, black RAM Promaster van during not just a snowstorm, but also a burgeoning pandemic. The couple had just purchased the van from Ontario and were in the process of bringing it back home to Pemberton. "We were at our [...]

Reviving aboriginal language through literature and tech

A group of academics and indigenous language advocates are using technology and books to try to revive an endangered aboriginal language. Dr Hilary Smith is a linguist and author who has just launched a series of children's books written in the aboriginal Gamilaraay language. She's been working for the last four years in Gunnedah, north-east [...]

By |2020-01-18T17:43:25+00:00January 18th, 2020|Australia, Endangered language, Gamilaraay language|0 Comments

Canadian film made in language spoken by just 20 people in the world

Plenty of films are somewhat incomprehensible, but a forthcoming movie is in a language that only about 20 people in the world can speak fluently. With subtitles, audiences will be able to understand a feature film titled SGaawaay K’uuna, translated as Edge of the Knife, which has its UK premiere in April. It is in [...]

Saving an Endangered Language

Walk past Abernethy Hall Room 102 on any given Friday afternoon during the semester and you’ll likely hear sounds of an endangered language wafting through the halls. “Siyo.” (Hello.) “Osigwotsu?” (How are you?) “Osigwo.” (I am fine.) “Ihina?” (And you?) “Osda!” (Great!) It’s “AniKahwi,” Cherokee Coffee Hour, for students interested in learning to speak Cherokee. [...]

By |2018-04-10T14:04:03+00:00April 10th, 2018|Cherokee language, Endangered language|0 Comments

Acoma Pueblo’s Emergency Push To Save Its Language

Acoma Pueblo is considered the oldest continually inhabited community in North America. And only about a hundred people or so still speak the Acoma Keres language. Many of those fluent speakers gathered earlier this month in Acoma to record their voices, saving words, concepts and culture. They’re hoping that someday soon, young people will speak [...]

Last fluent Ngandi speaker works to pass on endangered Indigenous language

Grant Mathumba Thompson did not have a chance to learn Ngandi growing up, despite it being the language of his mother and grandparents. His great aunt Cherry Wulumirr Daniels has started teaching him Ngandi and other traditional languages, so they can run classes at the local school. "Knowing, learning the languages has saved my life [...]

Last fluent Mandan speaker dies, puts language at risk

The death of Edwin Benson, of Twin Buttes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in west-central North Dakota, who was the last living soul who could fluently speak Mandan could bring the possible extinction of a language that expressed the unique experiences and perceptions of a once-thriving tribe of Plains Indians. Benson died Friday at [...]

Chance to save ancient language

In a village in northern Cyprus, a community struggling to save its ancient language has seen a glimmer of hope in intensified efforts to reunify the divided island. Kormakitis was once the hub of Cyprus’s Maronite minority, descendants of Syrian and Lebanese Christians who spoke Sanna, a unique dialect of Arabic influenced by the Aramaic [...]

This forest language from the age of Vikings may soon disappear

In a remote part of Sweden surrounded by mountains, valleys and thick forests, the community of Älvdalen is desperately attempting to preserve its unique heritage. Up until the mid-20th century, the town of some 1,800 inhabitants spoke a language called Elfdalian, believed to be the closest descendant of Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. [...]