Why Language Apps?
Language apps fall squarely within Animikii’s domain; nestled neatly at the intersection of traditional knowledge and technological innovation. We have built custom language apps before and continue to work on these valuable projects. Our team firmly believes that technology can - and should - be leveraged not only to support the preservation of our traditional languages and cultures but also their resurgence and revitalization.
If you would like to use technology to your advantage - say, to develop a language app of your own - reach out to us and we’d love to help bring your idea to life.
Why learning your language is important
Learning an Indigenous language can be a form of personal Reconciliation. It allows you to get closer to your Indigenous family members, to your Community, and to better understand your own identity as an Indigenous person.
However - beyond personal gains - learning your traditional language is an act of resistance and resilience for all Indigenous people. Your Indigenous language contains your Community’s unique worldview, with meaning infused in every sentence and every word you add to your vocabulary. By learning your language, you are asserting your identity.
On a more biological note - according to the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) - learning your language has personal, social, and economic benefits not only for you but everyone around you. When we think, speak, and write in other languages, our understanding of the world changes. You become a force for change when learning your Indigenous language which not only revitalizes your Community’s worldview but also your unique way of understanding the world.
The Indigenous languages of Turtle Island vary from region-to-region - even Community-to-Community - but they all have one element in common: they open your eyes to the thoughts, opinions, and worldviews of the people who used the language before you.
Our language and culture is the window through which we see the world.
"Hotié nuhecvaniö chu nuheyatié húton dézq, þqþú þeh hoþüné dáhoø¿q sí benerídí hasü."
Paul Disain - Stony Rapids, SK
How do I get started?
Depending on where you are, there may be offline resources already available to help you learn your language. Many Nations and even some colleges and universities have language groups, immersion classes, and opportunities to talk with Elders and practice the language regularly.
If you can’t take advantage of these kinds of offline resources - or if you want to supplement your offline learning - online language applications and websites can help you practice the skills you need to become fluent.
Thanks in part to organizations like FirstVoices, there are several language apps already available that you can use to practice on the go! Another example is Goozih, an Indigenous language revitalization app developed by Animikii’s own Lydia Prince.
While technology cannot fully replace group or in-person interactions for language learning, they are a useful tool for learning vocabulary, usage, and pronunciation. To help on your language-learning journey, we’ve compiled a list of Indigenous language apps to supplement classes and conversations and to help you start to think outside the English box.
Like Indigenous languages, this list is living and evolving. If there is an app we missed that you would like to include, please contact us. Or, if you are developing a language app of your own, reach out to us and we’ll include it in our list. You can always reach us at email@example.com or message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Explore the Apps:
This article is a part of Animikii’s #MakingIndigenousHistory series. This series is a response to National Aboriginal History Month. Our goal with #MakingIndigenousHistory is to recognize important Indigenous events and leaders from our past, while also amplifying the actions and voices of Indigenous innovators today. Indigenous history didn’t start or end with Contact; we’re still here, so let’s make history.Article published June 5, 2017.