Digital tools for language revitalization

Ashleigh Surma & Christina L. Truong
Forthcoming May 2023. Chapter in The Languages and Linguistics of Indigenous North America: A Comprehensive Guide, Vol. 1 (The World’s Languages)Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

In this chapter, we discuss several types of digital tools commonly employed in language revitalization and highlight specific examples of how such tools have been utilized in and adapted to Indigenous North American contexts. We review examples of digital tools for language revitalization in four categories and discuss how each can be leveraged to meet common needs in language revitalization work. These categories are: learning apps, dictionaries and reference materials, geo-mapping and place names, and interactive online spaces, including interactive storytelling and video games/gaming. While these tools are not a panacea for the multifaceted challenges of language revitalization, when employed thoughtfully, digital tools can bring flexibility and dynamism in support of language revitalization.

Alaska Native Place Names

Research assistantship for Collaborative Research: Linking Maps, Manuscripts, and Place Names Data to Improve Environmental Knowledge in Alaska Project (NSF-supported project). Spring 2019.

This project will compile a geographic database linking place name data found on historic Alaskan maps, manuscripts, and within oral histories and printed materials. The project framework integrates full GIS capabilities with multilingual audio, video, and text to reveal connections between named places and socio-ecological dimensions of landscape, including knowledge of local ecosystems and cultural values, adaptation and resilience.

Responsibilities include: Editing and management of geolinguistic datasets, preparation of data. Building and configuring online atlases using Nunaliit, an open source atlas framework running on Linux OS.

Browse a sample atlas from the project.