By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director
We are keeping really busy in the language department. We are continuing our work on a series of children’s books while teaching Monday-Thursday in the Child Development Center’s two facilities.
We have been shooting a number of videos to link to on our online dictionary at potawatomidictionary.com. It was designed in-house by our IT department and has a lot of cool features. More than 7,000 of the 9,600 words have at least one audio file. We eventually should have two example sentences, baseline audio file, historical audio clips of different speakers saying the words, related words, tags or categories, and even a video component.
We have been focusing a lot of energy creating video components for many of the words. For example, there are four main types of verbs as well as several variations. We are making videos for each type that will show how to conjugate those various verbs. That way, a person won’t just learn the word but will be able to use the word. We also have done some videos that show things like the process of making maple syrup and how we traditionally use certain plants with the help of Kaya DeerInWater, our community garden manager. We also plan to add some short conversations.
The “Related Words” feature allows us to connect all kinds of words together. So, lets say you look for “cook.” You will find “he/she is a good cook,” “cook something” in all its forms, the word for “chef” and other words that conjugate in a similar manner.
If you go to the “Tags” section, you can click on different topics like astronomy, clothing, common words, feelings, birds, weather and traditional activities. Once you click on the tag, you will see words associated with this category, such as if you hit “birds” you will see all the birds listed in the dictionary.
The dictionary allows you to search English to Potawatomi or Potawatomi to English. It also allows you from the home page to print a copy either way.
We also are constantly working on new content for our two YouTube channels, which can be found if you search for “Justin Neely” and “Potawatomi language.” One is more geared toward kids, and one is geared more toward adults. Each channel has over 150 videos. Just recently, we finished up a Woody Woodpecker cartoon in the public domain. We are planning to start shooting our Mtek Wigwam original children’s puppet show in the near future.
We are currently working with IT to revamp our Moodle course, one of our online language platforms. It was originally designed over six years ago as a part of an Administration for Native Americans grant. We have had thousands of students take the course. We are also using it to offer the language in high schools in Oklahoma. We currently offer the language in Wanette, Shawnee, Tecumseh and Maud, and we will be adding Seminole High School in the fall. We are certified to offer the course anywhere in Oklahoma, and it will count toward the world language credit required for graduation. So this summer, we will be busy revamping and updating the online Moodle course on a new learning management system platform. In the meantime, we will still have the two courses at memrise.com — A Day in the Life and Conversational Potawatomi.
We look forward to offering on-site classes again, which will also be streamed live late this summer. In the meantime, we also occasionally will do classes on Facebook in the Bodwéwadmimwen group page at cpn.news/langfb.
If we can help you out in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us.