June 21, 2013

Comanche Nation College Tries to Rescue a Lost Tribal Language

From http://chronicle.com/article/Comanche-Nation-College-Tries/139631

Comanche Nation College Tries to Rescue a Lost Tribal Language
By Katherine Mangan
June 9, 2013

A two-year tribal college in Lawton, Okla., is using technology to reinvigorate the Comanche language before it dies out.

Two faculty members from Comanche Nation College and Texas Tech University worked with tribal elders to create a digital archive of what's left of the language. Only about 25 people nationwide speak Comanche, down from about 15,000 in the late 1800s, they estimate.

The recording project was supported by $198,000 in grants from the Administration for Native Americans, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Each of three Comanche speakers—all women in their 60s and 70s—was handed a script in English, which she translated into spoken Comanche as the project director recorded her. The resulting 42 modules require students to match the audio of a sentence spoken in Comanche with a corresponding picture or photograph.

For more advanced students, the sentences became more elaborate. A sentence might describe a boy ducking under a fence and running across the prairie to find his older brother fishing and tell him his mother said that supper was ready.

Read the full article at http://chronicle.com/article/Comanche-Nation-College-Tries/139631

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