Ancestral languages are essential to Indigenous identities in Canada

Recent protests against the federal government’s approach to Indigenous language legislation is the latest manifestation of concern regarding the maintenance and flourishing of Indigenous languages and culture. Although these latest protests are centred around jurisdiction and funding, the fundamental issue for Indigenous peoples is support for an essential part of their identity. My work in [...]

2019 is UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. And we need it to be

Today, 28th of January 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) will begin. And there are good reasons to spread awareness about the state of the world’s indigenous languages. As linguists, we are all too familiar with the depressing statistics surrounding indigenous languages. As is summarized on websites like Ethnologue, around 4,000 of the [...]

By |2019-01-31T16:15:21+00:00January 31st, 2019|Indigenous languages|0 Comments

How an Edmonton-based designer is using fashion to revitalize Indigenous languages

EDMONTON—When Brandi Morin’s kohkum (Cree for grandmother) passed away, her aunties were cleaning her house and found pieces of paper scattered throughout that had short stories and memories on them in their mother’s handwriting. They found the elongated, cursive writings on scrap bits, papers, and even flyers. They compiled all her writings in a mini [...]

By |2019-01-05T00:25:07+00:00January 5th, 2019|Indigenous languages|0 Comments

These Radio Stations are Reviving Indigenous Languages

In the struggle to preserve Indigenous languages, community radio stations have emerged as a key tool to help mother tongues that were crushed under the weight of colonialism flourish once again. What was once forbidden and punished by the Canadian government — the speaking of one’s own language — can be heard with a turn [...]

By |2018-11-21T15:53:15+00:00November 21st, 2018|Indigenous languages, Radio|0 Comments

What is killing Mexico’s rich indigenous languages?

“I speak the sounds of the people of the rain” – If you ask the Mixteco people about their first language, the reply is just one example of Mexico’s rich linguistic diversity. Yet linguists, artists and human rights defenders are warning that Mexico is becoming increasingly monotone – and that discrimination, as well as repressive [...]

By |2018-11-02T12:31:58+00:00November 2nd, 2018|Indigenous languages, Mexico|0 Comments

Gurrumul and Indigenous languages offer windows into Australia’s past and present

There’s a scene towards the end of the film Gurrumul, directed by Paul Daniel Williams screening in cinemas now, that stays with me. Set in a record store, somewhere in the United States, we hear innocuous guitar strumming in the background as people obliviously browse albums. Then vocals. In an instant, everyone stops, puts down [...]

By |2018-07-06T10:34:22+00:00July 6th, 2018|Australia, Gurrumul, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

How AI is helping preserve Indigenous languages

Australia's Indigenous population is rich in linguistic diversity, with over 300 languages spoken across different communities. Some of the languages can be as distinct as Japanese is to German. But many are at risk of becoming extinct because they are not widely accessible and have little presence in the digital space. Professor Janet Wiles is [...]

Calls for national legislation to protect Indigenous languages in Australia

Craig Ritchie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), suggests Australia could follow in the footsteps of New Zealand, which introduced the Māori Language Act in 1987, thereby giving Māori official language status. "Under that, every government agency has an obligation to make sure that the work that they [...]

By |2018-03-07T14:12:45+00:00March 7th, 2018|Australia, Indigenous languages, Language|0 Comments

Making history by saving it: UW groups keep indigenous languages alive

When Alyssa Johnston and members of her tribe speak to one another in Quinault, they are often moved to tears by the knowledge that, at the turn of the century, the language was all but dead. The last person who spoke fluent Quinault passed away in 1996. By using recordings of those who spoke the [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:27:07+00:00January 18th, 2018|Indigenous languages, Language|0 Comments

Alberta teacher races to save dying Indigenous language before time runs out

A teacher in northern Alberta is racing to piece together a dying Indigenous language before the last few people who speak it are gone. For the past two years, Victoria Wanihadie has travelled the Peace River area to find people who remember the Beaver culture and language. She jots down their memories and records the [...]

By |2017-11-14T12:03:30+00:00November 14th, 2017|Beaver language, Canada, Indigenous languages|0 Comments