By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director
It’s a busy time in the Language Department. We are getting geared up for the upcoming Family Reunion Festival. We are excited to finally get to see some of our relations after a very long but necessary break. Our drum group Sengo Zibiwes — Squirrel Creek Singers — have been practicing hard to be able to do not only our annual hand games but also do some of the songs at our annual dance. We also have been doing an intermediate language class every Monday and Thursday at 1 p.m. We are also recording the classes and doing them on Zoom.
We are also working with Google on a new program called Woolaroo. The way this program works is you capture an image with your phone such as a tree. Then the program says the name for tree. With the initial offering, Google is going with about five or six languages. Potawatomi is one of these languages. I was given a list of the top 1,200 or so words that are Googled. Then once I translate these words, I will have to record the audio for these words.
We are also continuing work on a series of kids’ books. The first couple will be given out in the Festival bags. We will be putting out a web address to put your name down for books, and then we will then send the books out in bulk, three to five at a time, in order to keep costs down. When we are all said and done, we look to put out 12 different children’s books.
Our online dictionary recently passed the 10,000 word mark. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, please do at potawatomidictionary.com.
We have close to 70 percent of words with audio files and a number with images and even video clips on some words. You can also print out the dictionary in English to Potawatomi and Potawatomi to English.
We are wrapping up the second semester of our high school course. We have been redesigning the online course on a new learning management system platform, Tovuti. We are also wrapping up our first year of offering a 9-week Potawatomi class at Shawnee Middle School. Once we finish this, we will begin working on a new beginner adult course and then intermediate course to replace the courses we have on Moodle. We also still have our Moodle course, which is still going, and two different courses on memrise.com. We are also partnering with the CPN Department of Education to create a collegiate course that we hope to be able to roll out this coming fall.
We also have been working on a number of videos we have been posting on our two YouTube channels — one geared towards adult learners and one geared towards kids. We just wrapped up the first episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. Whenever we make a public domain film, we make three versions: one with no captions, one with captions in Potawatomi and one with captions in English. Check out these two channels for tons of Potawatomi language content: cpn.news/JN and cpn.news/childrenyt.