Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Website launched entirely in Lakota to help revitalize Native American language among youth

Screen shot of website 
A website entirely in the Lakota language has been launched as part of an effort to revitalize the Native American tongue, especially among younger people, Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder. The average age of Lakota speakers is 70, said Peter Hill, who edits Wóihaŋble, which means "dream" in Lakota. Hill said there are very few Lakota speakers younger than 45. Hill said the site is the first of its kind to have all the material published in Lakota.

The site features local news, weather, sports, and cultural pieces, Marema writes. "Wóihaŋble comes out of the Lakȟótiyapi Press, the media component of the Lakota Language Initiative at Thunder Valley Community Development Corp.," an Oglala Lakota-run nonprofit organization in Porcupine, S.D. Hill said "the Lakota Language Initiative seeks to preserve Lakota and make it relevant and useful in contemporary settings." He told Marema, “We’ve tried to expand our language programs in ways that will enable us to reach people outside of the walls of this program, so that they can also learn the language in their own time, without having to be here on site. One of the primary ways to do that nowadays is with technology.”

Each story on the website is accompanied by an audio version, Marema writes. "That serves both fluent Lakota speakers, who may be less comfortable with the written language, and new learners, Hill said. Most stories are translations of articles that run in the two English-language weekly newspapers that serve the area. Hill writes and compiles some of the other features like 'this day in history' and the weather report." (Read more)

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