Posts Tagged ‘national geographic’

Talking dictionaries aim to document, preserve endangered languages

Tito Perez, a shaman from the Chamacoco community in Puerto Diana, Paraguay, is shown. Words and sentences from the Chamacoco language can be heard in a new talking dictionary. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, National Geographic, Chris Rainier)

Using ancient languages in danger of being lost, National Geographic has created eight new talking dictionaries, according to the Canadian Press.

    The dictionaries contain more than 32,000 word entries in eight endangered languages. They comprise more than 24,000 audio recordings of native speakers pronouncing words and sentences, along with photos of cultural objects.

    Among the participants on a panel about the use of digital tools at the AAAS meeting was Alfred (Bud) Lane, among the last known fluent speakers of Siletz Dee-ni, a Native American language spoken in Oregon. Lane has written that the talking dictionary is — and will be — one of the best resources in the struggle to keep his language alive.

The languages have been recorded and written, but part of the project also involves taking photographs of native speakers.

Native student responds to a Times article about his home
Did you read the Feb. 3 New York Time’s article on the Wind River Reservation?

A lot of students from Wind River did, and they responded in a variety of ways about their feelings of how the story depicted their home.

    Students on the Wind River reservation read and discussed the piece in classes at Fort Washakie Charter High School, and, according to Michael L. Read, an English teacher there, felt that “the article seemed to reinforce the stereotypes that they get labeled with frequently.” In an e-mail, he wrote, “These students know that there are problems in their community, but they also love it and are fully committed to honoring their ancestors and the future.”

One student, Willow Pingree, responded through a comment online. It’s worth reading and reflecting on. (Pingree’s entire letter is printed online on a Times learning blog.)

Montana to allow hunters to shoot wandering Yellowstone bison
There’s no bison management agreement yet when it comes to how tribes and government agencies will manage bison in Montana, but on Thursday the state announced it would allow hunters to shoot the animals if they wander outside Yellowstone National Park.

Associated Press reporter Matt Volz has the story.

    Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say that allowing hunters to enforce those tolerance areas is an adjustment to an Interagency Bison Management Plan change that expands the boundaries where bison can wander. It would allow hunters to shoot bison that stray beyond designated areas during or outside of the bison hunting season.

    . . .

    The plan was approved in a 4-1 vote. Commissioner A.T. “Rusty” Stafne, a former Fort Peck tribal chairman, voted against the measure, saying the agreements with the tribes should be in place first.

    Neighboring farmers and ranchers fear the bison will spread disease and destroy their property.

    Two lawsuits are pending over allowing bison to leave Yellowstone in search of food at lower elevations in the winter. A third lawsuit aims to block the relocation of the 68 bison to Fort Peck and Fort Belknap.

Jenna Cederberg

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