HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP PRESERVE ABORIGINAL LANGUAGES

http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/shared-values/how-technology-and-education-can-help-preserve-aboriginal-languages

Further to this common thread of perspective when it comes to technology and education, this article and interview features Mike Parkhill and Brent Tookenay and their collaborative project on using technology to revitalizing Indigenous languages. Parkhill argues that there is a need to modernize Indigenous languages – not just archive them. He provides the example of the work he did with modernizing the Inuktitut language, explaining that the word Ikiaqqivik is used for internet. It means “my body stays here but my soul travels other places to see”. This is so complex, I wonder about others’ perspectives on the necessity to “modernize” language, yet I also find the word choice to be thoughtful and intentional. How has this modernization been received? Especially when someone non-native is backing the technological aspect.

In the interview, Parkhill goes on to explain the reading app and literature that he has been involved in designing in which he includes phonetic text for the Maliseet language, a language that was only used orally. The intention is for people to read to/with their children, but because of tradition, this caused contention. I wonder if there aren’t better ways to honour tradition whilst highlighting language learning.

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