Lakota Language

 

Project and Presentation

Project and Presentation

For my independent project, I made a felted child’s toy to explore Lakota Language. The point is to explain the importance of  early language acquisition before puberty to revitalize the Lakota language.

I made a felt background of South Dakota, and wrote “I Speak Lakota” at the top in Lakota. It turns out that felt is hard to glue. Even with gorilla glue and wood glue like stiff gloves on my hands, the felt just peeled away. I ended up stitching the felt together.

Next I made eight pockets with animal names stitched into them. Felted animals correspond to each word and just barely stick out of the pocket. The idea is to start to recognize Lakota names of animals. To hear the Lakota pronunciation of these animals and many other words, follow the link:  http://1onewolf.com/lakota/language1.htm#wildlife

 

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An answer sheet with the English word for each animal, the Lakota word, and the syllable pronunciation.

An answer sheet with the English word for each animal, the Lakota word, and the syllable pronunciation.

Lakota grammar is different from English. Pronunciation differences, sentence organization, and word stresses make it different for the 1st language English speaker to grasp Lakota.

Lakota grammar is different from English. Pronunciation differences, sentence organization, and word stresses make it different for the 1st language English speaker to grasp Lakota. For more grammar, go to sioux.saivus.org

 

 

 

The Lakota language has a fantastic history. Like all languages, it is still evolving today. Lakota is a strong representation of Lakota identity. Unfortunately, the language is beginning to disappear.

The Lakota language has a fantastic history. Like all languages, it is still evolving today. Lakota is a strong representation of Lakota identity. Unfortunately, the language is beginning to disappear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a huge connection to  linguistic anthropology themes in the translated oral history of the origin of the word “Oglala.” Most of the Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge are from the Oglala branch, and the title was written on signs and was the name of a college.

The word Oglala means “those who throw in ash in their eyes.” The linguistic translation from Lakota to English is here: http://www.indiana.edu/~aisri/projects/deloria/OriginOfTheNameOglala.pdf

Basically, the story goes like this: Many generations ago, a very poor family found an iron arrowhead in a piece of meat. The three sons fought over it, and eventually one threw ash from the fire place into the eyes of the others. He got the iron piece while the other boys walked away crying. The story spread and the family became known as the “people with ash in their eyes.” The name stuck and is now the official tribe name.

There are several themes here. The largest is the concept of oral history. The second half of the story is the speaker saying how true it is because his grandfather told it that way. Other theories on the origin of the word that are written and published are false. Truth is in oral history.Another theme is that language is constantly changing, to adapt new words, accents, slang, and effects of globalization. The last theme is the Lakota language’s connection to the Lakota identity, through elders and stories passed down by them.

For several awesome story telling videos, go to: http://lakotastories.edublogs.org/lakota-stories-videos/

Linguistic Anthropology: Lakota language connects to Lakota culture.  http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILAC/ILAC_17.pdf

Linguistic Anthropology: Lakota language connects to Lakota culture.
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILAC/ILAC_17.pdf

 

 

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-Maggie McKeon

This entry was posted in Block 3: 2011-12, Block 3: 2013-2014, Independent Projects. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lakota Language

  1. c_nuyen says:

    I just learned the other day that there is Native American Sign Language. I was wondering if any of your research addressed that form of communication. Although it isn’t that common, apparently the language reveals a lot about Native American cultures.

  2. m_mckeon says:

    I actually had no idea there was a native american sign language. I wonder how different it is from ASL? That would be an interesting thing to look into, and to find out how many people at Pine Ridge use it.

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