Sealaska Heritage Institute releases new applications for discovering endangered Indigenous languages

Sealaska Heritage Institute’s new language game titles app. (Photograph by Yvonne Krumrey/KTOO)


Sealaska Heritage Institute released new language mastering applications in X̱aad Kíl and Shm’algyack this thirty day period. The apps are the very first of their kind and are intended to open up doorways for studying the endangered Indigenous languages. 

Leah Urbanski with Sealaska Heritage Institute not too long ago shown a new activity app. It let us you choose which language you want to observe — Lingít, X̱aad Kíl or Shm’algyack.

Urbanski picked X̱aad Kíl, the Haida language. Her mobile phone display screen loaded with animated sea creatures.

“So it’s all variety of are living animals floating around the screen,” Urbanski explained. “And then any time you click on it, this man just pops up out of nowhere.” 

A harbor seal appeared in the corner of the display screen, seeking at us. When Urbanski tapped on it, its X̱aad Kíl title appeared: X̱úud.

There’s also a sport with a forest comprehensive of birds native to Southeast Alaska, a quiz match and far more choices on the Lingít facet. The application is known as SHI Language Game titles.

This application and two other people introduced this thirty day period are SHI’s to start with try at putting X̱aad Kíl or Shm’algyack, the Tsimshian language, in application sort. 

The new language applications, considerably like the Lingít a person SHI produced many several years back, are named SHI: Studying Haida and SHI: Studying Shm’algyack.

They have phrases, vocabulary and a breakdown of the alphabet, with recordings to aid learners pronounce every single sound suitable. 

The X̱aad Kíl voice customers listen to is Skíl Jáadei Linda Schrack, and the Shm’algyack is Shiggoap Alfie Price. Price and Schrack worked with a staff of language experts to develop the apps. 

The X̱aad Kíl and Shm’algyack apps are a little bit thinner in content than the Lingít app correct now, but Urbanski mentioned that will improve. 

“For appropriate now, this is what we have,” she claimed. “But we’re going to constantly preserve including to this as we go along, just accumulating all the types of vocab that we have to have.”

She stated these applications are an additional way learners can interact with X̱aad Kíl and Shm’algyack. 

“I think finding language out there and in as several strategies as attainable is significant, especially with our ever-evolving globe,” Urbanski reported. “Technology is a single of the things that a good deal of folks use.”

Applications are specifically handy for youthful learners, she stated, and they’re all no cost to download from app suppliers on iPhones and Android units.

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