Using Computers to Learn and Preserve Indigenous Languages

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Feb 5 17:00:27 UTC 2009

 Forwarded From: edling at

Using Computers to Learn and Preserve Indigenous Languages

Mary Hermes, a Dakotah woman and University of Minnesota professor
with years of experience in education, and her husband Kevin Roach, an
Ojibwe artist with expertise in both tribal art and computer graphics,
wanted give their children the gift of being raised in their tribal
language during their young years. They helped found Waadookodaading
School, an Ojibwe immersion school, on the reservation where they
live. Over time, however, Mary and Kevin came to feel that immersion
schools were not reaching enough people. Ojibwe learners and teachers
needed more strategies for revitalization in addition to immersion
schools. Ojibwe is the third most widely taught indigenous language in
North America after Navajo and Cherokee. Yet, the lack of fluent
Ojibwe teachers and teaching materials, as well as the physical
separation of Ojibwe people across multiple reservations in the U.S.
and Canada, has stymied people's efforts to learn and preserve their
language. They felt that people n!
 eeded effective curriculum materials and opportunities to learn and
practice their language outside of schools.

Full story:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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