- Category: Local News
- Created on Friday, 07 August 2015 23:20
- Published on Friday, 07 August 2015 23:20
By Sentinel Staff
A substantial number of the world’s Tlingit language speakers have been gathering in Sitka this week for a first-of-its-kind language immersion program.
Fluent Tlingit speaker Lillian Austin of Juneau speaks with her language apprentice Jamie Bradley, right, Thursday in the Mt. Edgecumbe High School student union building during the Lingit Language Immersion program. At left Juneau’s Ishmael Hope and Sitka’s Ethel Makinen converse in Tlingit. The week-long Tlingit language immersion program ends Saturday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)
Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Sealaska Heritage, and Sitka Native Education Program have been hosting the program, Lingit Language Immersion, which ends Saturday.
Around 63 language speakers, teachers and learners from Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 have been working on activities such as traditional drum-making; performing plays and puppet shows based on Tlingit legends; honing their Tlingit pronunciation; and discussing the vocabulary and structure of the language.
The number of speakers gathered is significant, considering there are only about 100 speakers total, program organizer Heather Powell said in a press release.
Most of the activities have been held in the Mt. Edgecumbe High School student union building, which is festooned with colorful paper signs spelling out phases in Tlingit with English translations.
Language speakers have been paired with learners for most activities. On Thursday evening the group played a version of bingo called out entirely in the Tlingit language.