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Losing Languages Means Losing Remedies

A close up image of a smoldering white sage smudge bundle and healing crystal on a dark wooden table.
The media frequently discusses language decline in terms of numbers alone—many of us have likely heard the oft-cited statistic that one language goes extinct every three months or the projection that 30% of the world’s languages will be extinct by the end of the 21st century. Language extinction triggers the loss of unique medicinal knowledge,  published in the Proceedings...

Linguistic Diversity Declines in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea—frequently heralded as the most linguistically diverse place in the entire world—is in the middle of a language crisis. According to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the youngest generations in the nation are using Indigenous languages far less than ever before, instead opting for...

Cherokee Linguist Honored by Senate Act and Center

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chair of the committee, have introduced the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation marks the 30th anniversary of the Native American Languages Act by ensuring federal efforts meet the goal of respecting and supporting...

Learning Guna on the Radio

When we talk about remote or distance learning, we often think of things like Zoom meetings, recorded lectures or Canvas assignments, but a group of teachers from Panama’s Indigenous Guna community is adding another dimension to the term, broadcasting lessons over the country’s public radio system. According to a report from La Prensa Latina, the lessons are broadcast Monday...

Finally, a Rohingya Translation of the Quran

For centuries, the Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to Myanmar, have not had access to the Quran in their native language. However, a campaign led by Rohingya Vision has recently raised more than $20,000 toward funding for an audio and video translation of the scripture, making the text much more accessible to the largely illiterate and highly...

Indigenous Language Institute to Host Webinar Series

The Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) has announced that it will be hosting a webinar series to support its language communities while COVID restrictions are still in place. The first webinar will feature a presentation by Christi Belcourt nehiyaw apihtâwikosisâniskwêw (Cree Métis). The presentation will be approximately one hour with Q&A to follow.TOPIC: Tâhtimiwewin – Intonation and the musicality of sound...

Indigenous Taiwanese Languages Now Available on Wikipedia

The overwhelming majority of the world’s languages have a very small presence on the Internet—just 35 languages make up about 99% of the content on the web. In the interest of embracing the island’s historic linguistic diversity, the government of Taiwan is working on a revitalization project for the nation’s Indigenous languages by developing web content in those languages....

First Canadian Bachelor’s Degree in Nsyilxcn

The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan is on track to become the first university in Canada to offer an undergraduate degree in Indigenous language fluency. The Bachelor of Nsyilxcn Language Fluency (BNLF) is the product of years of collaboration between UBC, the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and the En’owkin Centre. Nsyilxcn is a Salish language spoken by members...

All Englishes Matter

The exclusive or predominant use of inner-circle Englishes in English language teaching (ELT) materials creates and perpetuates myths about the ownership and legitimacy of English. It maintains the hegemonic structure that privileges inner-circle Englishes. “But teacher, he speaks with an accent!”My memories sometimes take me...

Russia Launches Project to Preserve Languages

The Federal Institute of Native Languages of the Peoples of the Russian Federation has announced an initiative to develop educational materials and revitalize indigenous languages in the Siberian republic of Yakutia, many of which have low populations of native speakers. According to a report from TASS Russian News Agency, many children in Yakutia learn an indigenous language before entering...
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