JUNEAU, Alaska — A Juneau-based organization is behind an effort to make learning Tlingit more accessible in hopes of preserving the Alaska Native language.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute has announced the release of two free apps to help people learn Tlingit.

The institute’s Katrina Hotch, who has been working on the project for several months, helped incorporate audio from the Alaska Native organization’s archives into the apps.

“Yeah, there’s so many people that have done a lot of work in the language and it’s exciting to make it more accessible to everyone,” Hotch told KTOO-FM (http://bit.ly/2cg5x47).

One app features two games to help users match what they see in the actual world with their Tlingit names. The other app teaches users the basics, including the Tlingit alphabet, vocabulary and phrases within the language.

Hotch, who said she’s not a fluent speaker herself, tried to pick entries that would be helpful for someone who is just starting to learn the language.

“What’s probably going to be some really popular category phrases is introductions and learning Tlingit and probably meal time,” she said, “everyone eats, yeah?”

Hotch said the goal of the apps was to create something that exemplifies the mission of the Sealaska Heritage Institute and allow the Tlingit language and culture to live on.

“Especially Haa Shuka,” Hotch said, “that’s the concept of, you’re connected to the past, present, and future. We have audio of all of these speakers, and some of them have gone on, but we’re making it available for present and future generations to help perpetuate the language and culture.”


Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org

VIAThe Associated Press
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