BETHEL, Alaska — An Alaska company that owns stores across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has introduced a new way for its customers to support indigenous languages.

Alaska Commercial Company stores are using labels written in Yupik in conjunction with a smartphone app that reads the label aloud, KYUK-AM reported Wednesday. Shoppers can scan an electronic QR code next to the label to hear how it’s said.

Company owner Walt Pickett said his company wants to install the program in any community with a high indigenous population.

“We’re doing this especially for the elders, knowing their language, and sometimes it’s hard for them to navigate,” Pickett said.

Children who are in immersion programs will benefit by seeing and hearing the Yupik language outside of the classroom, Pickett said.

Residents in Aniak, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, Kotlik, Mountain Village, St. Mary’s, Pilot Station and McGrath will be able to start accessing the app this month.


Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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