iPhone apps for Native languages in western Canada

Quoted and condensed from an article by Judith Lavoie in the Victoria Times Colonist, Dec 16, 2010.

New apps for the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone have been developed for the Sencoten language, spoken on southern Vancouver Island [in British Columbia, Canada], and Halq’eméylem, spoken in the Fraser Valley [of the same area]. Six more communities are using archives of recorded words and phrases to build mobile, audio dictionaries with funding from the province.

“Young people today are distracted by a lot of technology. They want to text, be on the web and play games and so we knew that, if we had any hope of keeping the language in front of them, it had to be presented in these ways,” said Peter Brand, co-ordinator of FirstVoices. FirstVoices archives and teaches aboriginal languages.

The struggle to keep B.C.’s 34 aboriginal languages alive becomes more difficult as elders die. On the Saanich Peninsula, only about 10 fluent Sencoten speakers remain.

The apps can be downloaded free from the iTunes store.

Sencoten:

http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/id398943185?mt=8

Halq’eméylem:

http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/halqemeylem/id398945845?mt=8

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