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Re Tlli7sa ell re uqw7úq̓wis: Engaging Indigenous language learners with an epic story through a language learning app.

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Title:Re Tlli7sa ell re uqw7úq̓wis: Engaging Indigenous language learners with an epic story through a language learning app.
Authors:Ignace, Ronald
Ignace, Marianne
Contributors:Ignace, Ronald (speaker)
Ignace, Marianne (speaker)
Date Issued:04 Mar 2017
Description:While some Indigenous languages in northwestern North America during the late 1800s and early 1900s fortuitously had local people, linguists and ethnographers recording verbatim texts from indigenous storytellers, Interior Salish languages for the most part did not benefit from that legacy, although in the 1960s to 1990s some text recording work – by then in audio – was done by linguists and ethnographers. However, as it pertains to the Secwepemc (Shuswap) language, in good part we are left with a body of English-only stsptekwll or oral traditions (Dawson1891, Boas 1895, Teit 1900) that were not recorded in the Indigenous language but were written down in English, at times with great detail, at times in summary form. Working in and through Secwepemctsin, between 2014 and 2016 the authors reconstructed the lengthy transformer epic of Tlli7sa and his brothers with a group of fluent speakers/elders. This stsptekwll involved (re)-constructing a detailed text of more than 300 sentences. Paying close attention to authenticity and detail in vocabulary as we described actions and movement, clothing and implements, and to ecology and geography, we produced detailed and, as best as we could, accurate narrations of the eighteen episodes of the story. In addition, throughout the editing process, we paid close attention to Secwepemctsin discursive conventions and grammar constructions, e.g. topic tracking, subordination, the use of passive voice, and other stylistic means deployed in storytelling. In this process we re-claimed this complex epic through many rounds of collaborative story writing and telling, being mindful that our language consultants were all victims of Indian Residential schooling in Canada, thus themselves reclaiming story telling in its method, language and rhetorical devices. Finally, we connected the story to places in the landscape that had been almost forgotten by recent generations, and embarked on journeys to those places with the team of elders and learners. Adding illustrations co-produced by the elders and a graphic artist brought the stories to life, as did visiting the places where events took place. Finally, we speak to the successes and challenges of turning the Tlli7sa epic – and potentially future stories – into digital learning apps: Apps do not directly engage being on the land, but our experiences with connecting apps to lived experience and told knowledge, thus using them as tools, address the fact that they can produce consciousness of history and ancient landscape, and thus enhance a sense of collective and individual well-being on ancestral lands. References: Boas, Franz, 1895 (2016), Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pazifischen Küste Amerikas. Berlin. (Engl. Translation edited by R. Bouchard and D. Kennedy 2002) Dawson, George M., 1891, Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. 1st Series 9(2):3-44. Teit, James A., 1909, The Shuswap. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 4 (7); Publications of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, 2 (7). Leiden and New York (Reprinted by AMS Press, New York, 1975).
Appears in Collections: 5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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