Indiana University

AISRI Educational Projects

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Language Learning with Technology
A cooperative project between White Shield School District and Indiana University

The number of elders who still speak Sáhniš, our Arikara language, has reached a critical stage. Soon, there will be none who can come into the classroom to teach. The problem for the Arikara community, as it is for most Native American communities that are losing their languages, is this: how can we preserve the voices of our elders and perpetuate our language?

In 1996, the Arikara (Sáhniš) Language Program was established to create language instruction materials to insure the continued survival of the Arikara language - materials that will support instruction for future generations of Arikara children and adults who are interesed in the heritage and are committed to maintaining their language. The program is a cooperative one between the White Shield School District (Roseglen, North Dakota) and the American Indian Studies Research Institute of Indiana University. It seeks to achieve its goals through the use of current computer and recording technologies.

To view screenshots from the materials click on the "view lessons" button on the right.

Components include:

  • Printed Textbooks for language instruction, a three-volume set, An Introduction to the Arikara Language.
  • A Multimedia Dictionary that incorporates sound (native speaker pronunciation), English translations, and illustrations.
  • Multimedia Language Lessons on CD-ROM that incorporate elders pronouncing words and sentences, provide immediate feedback, and offer self-recorded devices and illustrations.
    • In Written & Spoken Sounds, students learn the complex sound system of Arikara in isolation and in words; and they listen to native speakers pronounce the Arikara and record and play back their own pronunciation.
    • In Vocabulary, students not only learn word definitions, but also literal translations; and they translate and classify words.
    • In Sentence Patterns students practice translating into Arikara and English, utilizing the vocabulary, grammar and conversations they have learned.
  • Multimedia Culture LessonsThe Culture units of the Multimedia Language Lessons are unique. In them students read about history, culture, and tribal oral traditions. The units are illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs as well as drawings and maps and include recorded music and speech. These units also serve to preserve Arikara traditions and can be used as the basis for classroom activities.
Copies of instructional materials may be obtained from the Arikara Language Program, White Shield School, Roseglen, North Dakota 58775.


View Multimedia Materials