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Mandarin isn’t the only immersion language out there: Kwak’wala, Tlingit and Yiddish among others

April 23, 2019

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From The Juneau Empire

By February, Juneau could have a childcare program entirely in Lingít.

Haa Yoo X’atángi Kúdi is Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s new “language nest,” an immersive program intended to help revitalize the Tlingit language of Lingít.

After four years of development, the program is close to getting off the ground, with the goal of immersing Juneau students between the ages of 3 and 5 in the Tlingit language.

“We’re absolutely excited,” said Tlingit & Haida President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson. “Every day as time goes by we lose more fluent first speakers.”

The Endangered Languages Project estimates there are about 200 fluent speakers of Lingít worldwide. The Alaska Native Language Center similarly puts that figure at 175 speakers.

Please read more here.

New Indigenous immersion program launching to teach kindergartners Kwak’wala

A new language immersion program is coming to a Vancouver Island elementary school — and no, it’s not the typical Spanish or Mandarin language programs. It’s Kwak’wala.

School District 72 recently gave the green light for the new pilot project in the Kwak’wala language and culture at Ripple Rock Elementary in Campbell River.

Starting in September, kindergarten students will be immersed in the Indigenous language, which is spoken in parts of coastal B.C. including Vancouver Island.

Please read more here.


Yiddish immersion Kindergarten may come to New York City

From The Forward

Three generations ago, before the Holocaust decimated European Jewry, tens of thousands of students studied at more than a thousand secular Yiddish elementary schools dotted across Eastern Europe.

Today, there is only one secular Yiddish school in the world, and it’s south Australia.

Next year, that could change, and in a dramatic way: Secular Yiddish education might be coming to a New York City public school.

A member of the New York City Council, Mark Levine, is proposing the creation of a dual-language Yiddish-English program in a New York City public school starting in the fall of 2020. The students would spend half of their day learning in English, and half learning in Yiddish.

Read more:

Please read more here.

How Hawaiian Came Back From the Dead

A legacy of colonialism nearly wiped out the language and its culture. These immersion schools weren’t having it.

HILO, Hawai‘i—When Herring Kekaulike Kalua was a child growing up on Hawai‘i’s Big Island, his parents spoke mostly in their native language, ‘ōlelo Hawaii. English had long been the official language of government in the islands, mandated in schools and other public spaces. But Kalua’s family favored the soft vowels of Hawaiian, rejecting the harder consonants of English while they fished, hunted, and grew taro, customs their ancestors had passed down for generations.

Please read more here.

Navajo Nation School Focuses on Language Revitalization

Diné Bi’ Olta’ immerses Navajo Nation youth in Diné language and culture

From Indian Country Today


“Béédaałniih: Diné bizaad bídahwiil’aah. Táadoo biligáana k’ehjí yádaalłti’í. Ahéhee’.” These are the first words that visitors see on a sign at the entrance of Tsé Hootsooí Diné Bi’ Olta’, an elementary immersion school that teaches the Navajo language to its 133 students on the capital of the Navajo Nation.

In English, the sign means, “Remember: We are learning in Diné. Please leave your English outside. Thank you.”

Visitors coming to the school also see trophies. Lots of them. Two full trophy displays line the halls near the entrance and even more trophies sit on top of bookshelves in the library, or naaltsoos bá hooghan, as students and teachers call it.

Please read more here.

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