Owáyawa-ta Wóiyotiyekiye. The Lakota Berenstain Bears Episode 1, Scene 3 Walk Through

Scene 3 Script: [3:10]

Crowd: [ȟmúŋ s’e wóglakapi]
Brother: Háu kȟolá!
Lennie: Wáŋ! Ní yaúŋ!
Brother: [iȟá] Háŋ, kaptá wahíyu.
Lennie: Líla uŋníksuyape ló.
Brother: [iȟá] Háŋ, míš-eyá. Čha oyáka yo.
Lennie: Wíyawa wóuŋspe wówaši óta uŋyúhapi. … Yaglúštaŋ hwo?
Brother: Haŋhépi kiŋ él éwatuŋwiŋ kte.
Lennie: Wóiyutȟe kiŋ íŋš tók?
Brother: Wóiyutȟe?!
Lennie: [ožíži] Tȟó éyaš wóiyawa kiŋ hé yakhíyušpiŋ kte héčha, iŋčhéye?
Brother: Oháŋ éyaš … tuktúŋma so?
Lennie: Lé. oȟláthe hé kiŋ lé é. Ayábleza hwo?
Teacher Bob: Yakhíyotakapi kiŋ wóiyutȟe kiŋ čhič’úpi kte. … Tókheškhe wílawapi kin hená owá po.
Brother: Hoštíiiiiiii.
Teacher Bob: Taŋyáŋ ečhánuŋ.
Cousin Freddie: Hóka!
Teacher Bob: Yuphíya ečhánuŋ.
Cousin Freddie: Waŋžíni blušná šni. Níš tók?
Lennie: Míš núŋblala wakášna.
Teacher Bob: Oháŋ! Héčhegla.
Lennie: Tókša!
Teacher Bob: Tókša híŋhaŋni kiŋ.
Brother: Hoští! [okíniya] … Šičáya yeló.
Teacher Bob: Líla šičáya ečhánuŋ weló.
Brother: Tákuni?!
Teacher Bob: Thiyáta wówaši kiŋ yaglúštaŋ šni hwo?
Brother: Líla makhúže yeló. [káȟkaǧe] … Wičhókhuže kiŋ hé áta makté tkȟá.
Teacher Bob: [Hmmmm]
Brother: Éyaš íŋ … waná amákisni s’eléčheča. Na tókša hená waglúštaŋ kte.
Teacher Bob: Wašté yeló.
Brother: Waná wakhíyagniŋ kte.
Teacher Bob: Eyá, yakhí kiŋ … nihúŋ na niyáte kiŋ čhažé oígwapi na mayákaku kte.
Brother: [napčé] … Oháŋ.

Scene 3: [3:10]

Crowd: [ȟmúŋ s’e wóglakapi]
(They all conversed at once.)

ȟmúŋ s’e-all together together, loudly (of people), like a buzzing sound
wóglakA-to talk, to converse, to speak about things
pi-plural indicator

Brother: Háu kȟolá!
(Hello friend!)

háu-Hi, hello, greetings (only males use, females and males use háŋ)
kȟolá-friend, term of address (male friend of a male, women use wašé for female friends).

Lennie: Wáŋ! Ní yaúŋ!
(Wow! You’re alive!)

wáŋ-look! say! gee!
ní-alive. úŋ-to exist. ya-2nd person singular. yaúŋ-you exist.

Brother: [iȟá] Háŋ, kaptá wahíyu.
(Laughs gently) (Yes, I broke through (my cold) and I came???) I am not sure about the translation of this sentence. It could have a connotation in Lakota similar to ‘alive and kicking.’

iȟá-to smile, laugh gently
háŋ-yes
kaptÁ-strike through, cut through
híyu-to come forth, to start coming, come through. wa-1st person singular, I.

Lennie: Líla uŋníksuyape ló.
(We missed you.)

líla-very
kiksúya-recall, remember. uŋ..pi-first plural, we. ní-second singual, you. níksuyapi-we we miss you.
ló-assertion, used by males.

Brother: [iȟá] Háŋ, míš-eyá. Čha oyáka yo.
(Laughs gently) (Yes, me too. (literal) So tell me. I think this means more something like, “So tell me what’s new.” in this context but I’m guessing based on the English version of The Berenstain Bears episode.

iȟá-to smile, laugh gently
háŋ-yes
míš-eyá-me too
čha-so, therefore, because
oyáka-tell about something, report
yo-marks command used by males females use ‘ye’

Lennie: Wíyawa wóuŋspe wówaši óta uŋyúhapi. … Yaglúštaŋ hwo?
(We had a lot of math assignments, did you finish them?)

wíyawa-mathmatics, math, counting things
wóuŋspe-lesson
wówaši-work, homework
óta-many
yúha-to have. uŋ..pi-1st plural yúhapi
glúštaŋ-to finish. ya-2nd singular, you. yagluštáŋ-you finish
hwo-question particle, used by males. both sexes us ‘he.’

Brother: Haŋhépi kiŋ él éwatuŋwiŋ kte.
(I’ll pay attention to it tonight. (literal) I’ll check it out tonight.)

haŋhépi-night
haŋhépi kiŋ (or haŋhépi kiŋháŋ)-tonight, in the future
él étuŋwaŋ-to notice, to pay attention to, to look at something
kte-will, would, future tense

Lennie: Wóiyutȟe kiŋ íŋš tók?
(What about the test?)

wóiyutȟe-test
kiŋ-the, definite article
íŋš tók?-and how about that?

Brother: Wóiyutȟe?!
(Test?!)

wóiyutȟe-test

Lennie: [ožíži] Tȟó éyaš wóiyawa kiŋ hé yakhíyušpiŋ kte héčha, iŋčhéye?
(But I think you will divide that number, right?)

ožíži-to whisper something
tȟó -I think
éyaš -but
wóiyawa-number
kiŋ-the, definite article
hé-that (near listener)
khiyúšpA-to divide. ya-2nd person singular. iŋ kte-future tense—–>yakhíyušpiŋ kte-you will divide
kte-will, would, future tense
héčha-to be of such a kind
iŋčhéye-right?, isn’t that so?

Brother: Oháŋ éyaš … tuktúŋma so?
(OK, but… which of the two?)

oháŋ-OK, very well
éyaš -but
tuktúŋma-which of the two?
so-marks an informal question, sometimes not expecting an answer

Lennie: Lé. oȟláthe hé kiŋ lé é. Ayábleza hwo?
(This one beneath is the one. Got it?)

lé-this (near the speaker)
oȟláthe-underneath, below
hé-that (near listener)
kiŋ-the, definite article
lé é-the one
ablézA-to notice, to be aware of. ya-2nd person singular, you. Ableza
hwo-question particle, used by males.

Teacher Bob: Yakhíyotakapi kiŋ wóiyutȟe kiŋ čhič’úpi kte. … Tókheškhe wílawapi kin hená owá po.
(Return to your seats, I will give you all a test. Be sure to write to show how you made the calculations.

khíyotakA-go back and sit in your place. ya-2nd person singular, you. -pi indicates plural. yakhíyotakapi- you all go back and sit in your seats.
kiŋ-the, definite article
wóiyutȟe-test
kičʼú-to give something to one’s own. čhičʼú-I give to you.  -pi indicates plural.
—->čhič’úpi- I give to you all.
kte-will, would, future tense
tókheškhe-how, in what manner?
wílawapi-to count
hená-those, (near the listener)
owá-to write something
po-a command by a male to more than one person.

Brother: Hoštíiiiiiii.
(Too bad!)

Teacher Bob: Taŋyáŋ ečhánuŋ.
(You did well.)

taŋyáŋ-well
ečhúŋ-to do something. nuŋ-2nd person singular in class 3 verbs. —->ečhánuŋ-you did

Cousin Freddie: Hóka!
(All right! / Woo–hoo!)

Teacher Bob: Yuphíya ečhánuŋ.
(You did nicely.)

yuphíya- nicely, perfectly, finely
ečhúŋ-to do something. nuŋ-2nd person singular in class 3 verbs. —->ečhánuŋ-you did

Cousin Freddie: Waŋžíni blušná šni. Níš tók?
(I didn’t miss one. How about you?)

waŋžíni-not any (singular), not a, no
yušná-to miss somthing. blu-1st person singular in class 2 verbs, I. —>blušná- I missed
šni-not, negation
níš-you, as for you
tók-how is it. níš tók?- And how about you?

Lennie: Míš núŋblala wakášna.
(I got two wrong.)

míš-I, as for me.
núŋblala-only two
kašná-to miss, to fail. wa-1st person singular, I in class 1 verbs.

Teacher Bob: Oháŋ! Héčhegla.
(OK, that’s all.)

oháŋ-OK, very well
héčhegla-that is all, that far, that is where it ends

Lennie: Tókša!
(See you, bye!)

tókša-see you, bye, (informal)

Teacher Bob: Tókša híŋhaŋni kiŋ.
(See you tomorrow.)

tókša-see you, bye, (informal)
híŋhaŋni kiŋ-tomorrow

Brother: Hoští! [okíniya] … Šičáya yeló.
(Too bad! [sigh]… I did bad. )

hoští-too bad
okíniya-sigh, gasp
šičáya-poorly, badly, not well
yeló-indicates assertion, used by males
Teacher Bob: Líla šičáya ečhánuŋ weló.
(You have done very poorly.)

líla-very
šičáya-poorly, badly, not well
ečhúŋ-to do something. nuŋ-2nd person singular in class 3 verbs. —->ečhánuŋ-you did
weló/yeló-indicates assertion, used by males. yeló changes to weló after words that
end in o, u, uŋ. —>   šičáya yeló—->  ečhánuŋ weló.

Brother: Tákuni?!
(Zero?!)

tákuni-nothing, zero

Teacher Bob: Thiyáta wówaši kiŋ yaglúštaŋ šni hwo?
(Didn’t you finish the homework at home?)

thiyáta-at home
wówaši-work, homework
kiŋ-the, definite article
glúštaŋ-to finish. ya-2nd singular, you. yagluštáŋ-you finish
šni-not, negation
hwo-question particle, used by males. both sexes us ‘he.’

Brother: Líla makhúže yeló. [káȟkaǧe] … Wičhókhuže kiŋ hé áta makté tkȟá.
(I was really sick [gasp]…This bug almost killed me.)

líla-very
khúžA-sick (people only). makhúže-I am sick
yeló-indicates assertion, used by males
káȟkaǧe-choke, gasp
wičhókhuže-illness, sickness
kiŋ-the, definite article
hé-that (near listener)
áta-entirely, totally
kté-to kill. makté-kill me.
tkȟá-almost, but it didn’t happen

Teacher Bob: [Hmmmm]

Brother: Éyaš íŋ … waná amákisni s’eléčheča. Na tókša hená waglúštaŋ kte.
(But so… now I feel like I’m getting better. And I will finish it (that) later.

éyaš-but
íŋ-so
waná-now
akísni-to recover. amákisni-i recover
s’eléčheča-it seems, it looks like, it feels like
na-and
tókša-surely
hená-that near the listener
glúštaŋ-to finish. wa- 1st person singular, I. wagluštáŋ-I finish
kte-will, would, future tense

Teacher Bob: Wašté yeló.
(That’s good.)

Brother: Waná wakhíyagniŋ kte.
(I’m going to get going now.)

waná-now
khiglÁ-to leave here and go back there. to start back.
wakhíyagle-1st singular + kte—>wakhíyagniŋ kte-I will start back

Teacher Bob: Eyá, yakhí kiŋ … nihúŋ na niyáte kiŋ čhažé oígwapi na mayákaku kte.
(But when you go home be sure to have your mom and dad sign the test.)

eyá-well, er, uh
khí-to arrive, to return. yakhí-2nd singular, you arrive.
kiŋ-the, definite article
nihúŋ-your mother
na-and
niyáte-your father
čhažé-name, reputation
oígwa-to sign. oígwapi-they sign
na-and
kakú-to come back brining something. mayákaku-bring to me
kte-will, would, future tense

Brother: [napčé] … Oháŋ.
([gulp]… OK.)

 

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Owáyawa-ta Wóiyotiyekiye. The Lakota Berenstain Bears Episode 1, Scene 2 Walk Through

Scene 2 Script:

Brother: Uŋkčéǧila tȟáŋka. … Iyótaŋȟčiŋ wókȟokipȟeke. … [hoȟpé]
Brother: Háu tȟaŋkší.
Sister: Thibló, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Brother: Owámahečheča. Philámayaye.
Sister: Hé táku he?
Brother: Lé ȟeíle héčha. [hoȟpé]
Sister: Má. … Táku yakȟá he?
Brother: Ȟeíle kiŋ lé akáŋl uŋkčéǧila tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ kiŋ lenáos okíčhize yuhápi kte. …
[ȟlóȟlo]
Sister: Lé nič’ú mašípi.
Brother: Oháŋ, wašté.
Brother: [ȟlóȟlo]
Sister: Ečhánuŋ kte šni he?
Brother: Tókša. [ȟlóȟlo]
Sister: [okíniya] … Aŋpétu Tȟokáhe k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Brother: Amákisni kiŋ waglúštaŋ kte. … [káȟkaǧe] Héčhena makhúže.
Brother: [ȟlóȟlo]
Sister: Héčhanuŋ oyákihi háŋtaŋš wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
Brother: Wópazo waštéwalake kiŋ!
Brother: [iȟát’e] … [iȟát’e]

Scene 2:

Brother: Uŋkčéǧila tȟáŋka. … Iyótaŋȟčiŋ wókȟokipȟeke. … [hoȟpé]
(The most terrifying dinosaur… [cough).)

uŋkčéǧila-a large mythical monster that ate many Lakotas, large prehistoric animal
uŋkčéǧila tȟáŋka-dinosaur. tȟáŋka- large, big
iyótaŋȟčiŋ-especially, most of all, chiefly
wókȟokipȟeke-fearful, scary, to be dangerous
hoȟpÁ-to cough, have a cold

Eyá yo!
(Say it!)
wókȟokipȟeke.
iyótaŋȟčiŋ wókȟokipȟeke.
Uŋkčéǧila tȟáŋka. … Iyótaŋȟčiŋ wókȟokipȟeke. 

Brother: Háu tȟaŋkší.
(Hello little sister.)

háu-hello, greetings
tȟaŋkší-my younger sister (male speaking, term of address)

Sister: Thibló, nitáŋyaŋ he?
(Older brother, are you alright?)

thibló-my older brother, (female speaking, term of address)
nitáŋyaŋ-are you alright, táŋyaŋ-to be well, ni-you subject of verbs
he-question particle

Brother: Owámahečheča. Philámayaye.
(I am a little better. Thank you.)

0wámahečheča-I am a little better. owáhečheča-to be a little better.
philámayaye-thank you for it, you made me grateful
philáye-to be grateful

Sister: Hé táku he?
(What is that?)

hé-that (near listener)
táku-what
he-question particle

Brother: Lé ȟeíle héčha. [hoȟpé]
(This is a volcano. [cough])

lé-this (near the speaker)
ȟeíle -volcano
héčha-to be of such a kind, the one of a mentioned kind
hoȟpé-he/she coughs. hoȟpÁ-to čough (ablaut ending for… hoȟpÁ, capital letter A signifies ablauts to –>hoȟpé).

Sister: Má. … Táku yakȟá he?
(Say… What do you mean?)
má-look!, say!, gee! (used by women, men use wáŋ)
táku-what
yakȟá -you mean. ya-you. kȟá-to imply, to mean something
he-question particle

Brother: Ȟeíle kiŋ lé akáŋl uŋkčéǧila tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ kiŋ lenáos okíčhize yuhápi kte. …
[ȟlóȟlo]
(On top of this volcano these two dinosaurs will have a battle… [roar, roar].)

ȟeíle -volcano
kiŋ-the, definite article
lé -this, near the speaker
akáŋl-on, upon, on the surface, on top
uŋkčéǧila tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ- dinosaurs plural. uŋkčéǧila tȟáŋka-dinosaur.
tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ-large plural, big plural
lenáos-these two near speaker
okíčhize-battle, war, a fight
yuhá-to have something, to own, to hold (a meeting or ceremony). yuhápi-to hold, have plural.
kte-will, would, not yet real, future tense. ablaut form of ktA–>kte
ȟlóȟlo-to growl repeatedly

Eyá yo!
yuhápi kte.
okíčhize yuhápi kte.
uŋkčéǧila tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ kiŋ lenáos okíčhize yuhápi kte.
Ȟeíle kiŋ lé akáŋl uŋkčéǧila tȟaŋkíŋkiŋyaŋ kiŋ lenáos okíčhize yuhápi kte.

Sister: Lé nič’ú mašípi.
(They asked me to give you this.)

lé -this, near the speaker
nič’ú-(sounds like nich’u) he gave it to you. k’ú-to give something to somebody. ší-to command, to request, to tell someone to do something. pi-plural

Brother: Oháŋ, wašté.
(Ok, good.)

oháŋ-ok, very well, sure

Brother: [ȟlóȟlo]
(growl)

ȟlóȟlo-to growl repeatedly

Sister: Ečhánuŋ kte šni he?
(Won’t you do it?)

ečhánuŋ-you do something. ečhúŋ- to do something (he/she/it).
ečhúŋ (he does)–>ečhánuŋ (you do)
kte-will, would, not yet real, future tense. ablaut form of ktA–>kte
šni-negative, not. why don’t you (suggestion).
he-question particle

Brother: Tókša. [ȟlóȟlo]
(I sure will.)

tókša-surely, (implies a promise)
ȟlóȟlo-to growl repeatedly

Sister: [okíniya] … Aŋpétu Tȟokáhe k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
(You didn’t even do the first one I gave you Monday… Gosh, you are lazy.)

Aŋpétu Tȟokáhe-Monday
k’uŋ héhaŋ-then, time in the past
čhič’ú-I gave it to you. kʼú-to give something to someone
kiŋ-the, definite article
é-to be, be the one, to be he/she/it (e.g. Hé até é. That is my father.)
kayéš-even he/she/it
ečhánuŋ-you did ečhúŋ-he/she/it did something.
šni-not, negation
Má-look! Why! Gee! used by women
úŋničihišni-you are lazy úŋčihišni-to be lazy. ni-you particle

Eyá yo!
Má úŋničihišni.
ečhánuŋ šni. … Má úŋničihišni.
čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má úŋničihišni.
Aŋpétu Tȟokáhe k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má úŋničihišni.

Brother: Amákisni kiŋ waglúštaŋ kte. … [káȟkaǧe] Héčhena makhúže.
(When I get better I will finish (them)… (choke) I am still sick.

amákisni-I recover. akísni-to recover, to get well. ma-first singular particle, I
kiŋ-the, definite article
waglúštaŋ-to finish or complete one’s own things
kte-will, would, not yet real, future tense. ablaut form of ktA–>kte
káȟkaǧe-to choke
héčhena-continiously, still
makhúže-I am sick. khúža-to be sick (people)

Eyá yo!
Héčhena makhúže.
waglúštaŋ kte. … Héčhena makhúže.
Amákisni kiŋ waglúštaŋ kte. … Héčhena makhúže.

Brother: [ȟlóȟlo]
(growl)

ȟlóȟlo-to growl repeatedly

Sister: Héčhanuŋ oyákihi háŋtaŋš wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
(If you can do that you can finish your work.)
Note: The script and the video do not match, the video text is:
Yaškáta oyákihi háŋtaŋš wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
(If you can play you can finish your work.)

yaškáta-you play. škátA-to play. ya-2nd person singular in class I verbs, you.
oyákihi-you can. okíhi-can, to be able to. ya-2nd person singular in class I verbs, you.
háŋtaŋš-if… then
wówaši-work, duty, homework
yaglúštaŋ-you can finish. glúštaŋ-to finish one’s own

Eyá yo!
oyákihi.
yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
háŋtaŋš wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.
Yaškáta oyákihi háŋtaŋš wówaši yaglúštaŋ oyákihi.

Brother: Wópazo waštéwalake kiŋ!
(I like this show!)

wópazo-show, performace
waštéwalake-I like. waštéyalakA-to like
kiŋ-the, definite article

Brother: [iȟát’e] … [iȟát’e]

iȟát’e-laugh

c62d67017c5a140439224813b0cd9638-3
Expansion Drills

Supplemental Vocabulary
até-my father
uŋčí-grandmother, term of address
kaká-grandfather, term of address southern Lakota
lalá-grandfather, term of address northern Lakota
Aŋpétu Núŋpa-Tuesday
Aŋpétu Yámni-Wedneday
Aŋpétu Tópa-Thursday
Aŋpétu Záptaŋ-Friday
Owáŋkayužažapi-Saturday, washing the floor (day)
Aŋpétuwakȟáŋ-Sunday

Say each sample sentence out loud first. Then say each variation using the new word. The substituted word is underlined.

Sample sentence
Thibló, nitáŋyaŋ he?
(Older brother, are you alright?)

Até, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Uŋčí, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Kaká, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Lalá, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Susan, nitáŋyaŋ he?
Robert, nitáŋyaŋ he?

Sample sentence
Aŋpétu Tȟokáhe k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má (males use Wáŋ)
úŋničihišni.
(You didn’t even do the first one I gave you Monday… Gosh, you are lazy.)

Aŋpétu Núŋpa k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Aŋpétu Yámni k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Aŋpétu Tópa k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Aŋpétu Záptaŋ k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Owáŋkayužažapi k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.
Aŋpétuwakȟáŋ k’uŋ héhaŋ čhič’ú kiŋ é kayéš ečhánuŋ šni. … Má
úŋničihišni.

Taŋyáŋ ečhánuŋ!

 

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Owáyawa-ta Wóiyotiyekiye. The Lakota Berenstain Bears Episode 1, Scene 1 Walk Through

Language is all about context. Conversations teach us context.

Considering the information presented in my previous posts, the best way for a beginning language student to progress is by studying real conversations of native speakers from the first day. Along with this study, the student should of course learn vocabulary, and learn grammar at the same time. Human beings have an innate ability to acquire language via hearing others speak, and the best way to learn context is from listening to the conversations of others. To follow along in this method, I will post a complete walk through of The Lakota Berenstain Bears Episode 1, “Trouble At School: Owáyawa-ta Wóiyotiyekiye.”

I recommend that the beginning student obtain two study aids in addition to using The Lakota Berenstain Bears program:

1. New Lakota Dictionary – Pro, Ver. 1.0 – Digital Dictionary
2. Lakota Audio Series: A Practical Conversation Course Vol. 1
Both of these are available at: http://lakhota.org/

I recommend using the New Lakota Dictionary, (digital that you download to your computer) to learn the pronunciation of each word in the vocabulary lists. There are 30,000 entries in the dictionary with audio of the words spoken by Native speakers, ($29.95). Then try to say whole sentences that are in the Trouble at School episode.

Toggle between speaking practice listening comprehension, (Lakota Bears), and vocabulary and pronunciation, (New Lakota Dictionary – Pro, Ver. 1.0 – Digital Dictionary), and grammar study, (Lakota Audio Series: A Practical Conversation Course Vol. 1). Speak out loud at full volume and try to match the speed of the native speakers in the video… remember the key to knowing if you have practiced enough is if you can say a given sentence smoothly at natural speed. 

Finally, try out some of the expansion drills at the end of each scene with FSI style exercises to enhance retention and build conversational ability.

The Lakota language script and some vocabulary for the episode is located here: http://www.lakotabears.com/episodes/episode-1a.html

 

 

Scene 1 Script:

Brother: Owáyawa él wóškiške čháŋna šna, matȟóla waŋ líla čhet’úŋič’igla.
Sister: Tókša híŋhaŋni kiŋ!
Sister: Iná! Waglí ye!
Mama: Čhuŋkší … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Sister: Taŋyáŋ waúŋ! … Thibló tóktuka he?
Mama: [oíputȟake]
Mama: Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Híŋhaŋni kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
Sister: Waúŋspekhiye kiŋ wówaši kiŋ lé k’u-máši.
Brother: Iná! … ipáhiŋ waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Sister: Iná, tókša waŋží iwákiču kte.
Mama: Philámayaye.

 

“Owáyawa-ta Wóiyotiyekiye”
(Trouble at School)

Title Sequence

owáyawa-school, (building or institution)
ta-at, on, in, to
wó-creates a noun from a verb. wóiyotiyekiye-trouble
iyotiyekiye-have hard times, misery, have difficult times, suffer
hint: try breaking up big words into syllables, Wó  iyo tiye  kiye

Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe
(Compassionate Bear Family)

matȟó-bear
waúŋšila-compassion, kind, compassionate to people
thiwáhe-family, (esp. immediate family)

Owáyawa Ektá Wóškiške
owáyawa-school, (building or institution)
ektá-at, in, to
wóškiške-trouble, difficulty

Scene 1

Brother:  Owáyawa él wóškiške čháŋna šna, maťȟóla waŋ líla čhet’úŋič’igla.
(When there is a problem at school a cub usually has doubts about himself.)

Owáyawa-school
él-at, in, into, to, on
wóškiške-trouble, difficulty
čháŋna-when, whenever … then
šna-usually
matȟóla-bear cub, teddy bear. matȟó-bear, (la- ) indicates small size, or feeling of affection for something, endearing.
waŋ-a, a particular one
líla-very
čhet’úŋič’igla-doubt oneself

Backward Chaining Method

Eyá yo!
(Say it!)
čhet’úŋič’igla.
líla čhet’úŋič’igla.
maťȟóla waŋ líla čhet’úŋič’igla.
wóškiške čháŋna šna, maťȟóla waŋ líla čhet’úŋič’igla.
Owáyawa él wóškiške čháŋna šna, maťȟóla waŋ líla čhet’úŋič’igla.

Sister: Tókša híŋhaŋni kiŋ!
(See you tomorrow!)

tókša-surely
híŋhaŋni kiŋ-tomorrow

Sister: Iná! Waglí ye!
(Mother! I am home!)

iná-my mother, term of address
waglí-I am home    glí-to come back   wa- 1s of class I verbs (waglí-I come back)
ye-assertion spoken by women

Mama: Čhuŋkší … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
(Daughter… how are you?)

čhúŋkši-daughter, term of address
tókheškhe-how, in what way?
yaúŋ-you are.  úŋ-to exist, to be   ya-you
he-marks a question

Sister: Taŋyáŋ waúŋ! … Thibló tóktuka he?
(I am good… how is brother?)

taŋyáŋ-well, good
waúŋ-I am.  úŋ-to exist, to be   wa-I
thibló-my older brother (woman speaking, term of address)
tóktuka-how is it/he/she, to be in some way, to be how
he-marks a question

Mama: [oíputȟake]
íputȟakA- to kiss someone
oíputȟake – kiss (noun)

Mama: Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Híŋhaŋni kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
(He is getting better. He said he is going to go back to school tomorrow.)

taŋyáŋ-well, good
akísni.-get better, recover (from sickness)
ye-assertion spoken by women
híŋhaŋni kiŋ-tomorrow
wayáwa-go to school
gníŋ-go back, future used before kta (kte)
kta-will  (kte at the end of a sentence)
kéye-to say, he said (he, she, it) kéyA is basic form

Eyá yo!
gníŋ kta kéye.
wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
Híŋhaŋni kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Híŋhaŋni kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.

Sister: Waúŋspekhiye kiŋ wówaši kiŋ lé k’u-máši.
(Teacher told me to give you this homework.)

waúŋspekhiye-teacher
kiŋ-the, definite article
wówaši-work, homework
lé-this, (near me)
k’u-to give someone something
maši-told me to  ši-tell someone to do something, ma, I

Eyá yo!
lé k’u-máši.
wówaši kiŋ lé k’u-máši.
Waúŋspekhiye kiŋ wówaši kiŋ lé k’u-máši.

Brother: Iná! … ipáhiŋ waŋží akhé makáu wo.
(Mother!… bring me another pillow.)

iná-my mother, term of address
ipáhiŋ -pillow
akhé -another
makáu-bring me, káu-to bring someone something
wo-marks a command spoken by male person.

Sister: Iná, tókša waŋží iwákiču kte.
(Mother, I will bring him one.)

iná-my mother, term of address
tókša-surely
waŋží-a, a hypothetical one, any
iwákiču-I will bring ikiču-get something pertaining to someone. wa- 1s of class 1 verbs, me or I
kta-will  (kte at the end of a sentence)

Mama: Philámayaye.
(Thank you)

philáyA-to make somebody grateful, thankful
philámayaye-you made me grateful

c62d67017c5a140439224813b0cd9638-3
Expansion Drills

Supplemental Vocabulary
até-my father
uŋčí-grandmother, term of address
kaká-grandfather, term of address southern Lakota
lalá-grandfather, term of address northern Lakota
tȟaŋháŋši-male cross cousin (used by men), and male term of address, “bro”
wíčhokaŋhiyaye-noon
ektáwapȟaya-later today
híŋhaŋni akȟótaŋhaŋ kiŋ-day after tomorrow
ȟtayétu-evening
haŋhépi-night
owíŋža-blanket, (bedding)
šiná-blanket, shawl
ógle-shirt
itípakhiŋte-towel
čhiŋšká-spoon
wíčhapȟe-fork
oákaŋke-chair

Say each sample sentence out loud first. Then say each variation using the new word. The substituted word is underlined.

Sample sentence
Čhuŋkší … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
(Daughter… how are you?)

Até … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Uŋčí … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Kaká … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Lalá … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
David … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Amy … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?
Tȟaŋháŋši … tókheškhe yaúŋ he?

Sample sentence
Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Híŋhaŋni kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
(He is getting better. He said he is going to go back to school tomorrow.)

Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Ektáwapȟaya kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Híŋhaŋni akȟótaŋhaŋ kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye.
Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Ȟtayétu kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye. (this evening)
Taŋyáŋ akísni ye. Haŋhépi kiŋ wayáwa gníŋ kta kéye. (tonight)

Sample sentence
Iná! … ipáhiŋ waŋží akhé makáu wo.
(Mother!… bring me another pillow.)

Iná! … owíŋža waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Iná! … šiná waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Até! … ógle waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Até! … itípakhiŋte waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Kaká! … čhiŋšká waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Kaká! … wíčhapȟe waŋží akhé makáu wo.
Lalá! … oákaŋke waŋží akhé makáu wo.

Oháŋ! Héčhegla.
Ok! That’s all.

 

 

 

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2016 Sacagawea Dollar Celebrates Native Code Talkers

2016-s-native-american-one-dollar-proof-coin-lead

Get some and spend them on the Rez. You can buy them here from the U.S. Mint.

From U.S. Mint Website:

2016 Native American $1 Coin

The 2016 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the contributions of the Native American Code Talkers in World War I and World War II. The reverse (tails side) design features two helmets—one in the shape of the U.S. helmets used in World War I and the other in the shape of a World War II helmet. Next to them are the inscriptions “WWI” and “WWII.” Behind the helmets are two feathers that form a “V,” symbolizing victory, unity and the important role that the code talkers played in both world wars. Additional inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$1” and “CODE TALKERS.”

Introduction

It is estimated that more than 12,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military during World War I. In World War II, more than 44,000 Native Americans, out of a total Native American population of less than 350,000, served with distinction in both the European and Pacific theaters. Hundreds played a vital communications role in both world wars. This select group of Native Americans was asked to develop and use secret battle codes using their native languages to communicate troop movements and enemy positions. Their efforts saved many lives because America’s enemies were unable to decode their messages.

2016-s-native-american-one-dollar-proof-coin-merged

Contribution

Native languages came to play an increasingly vital role in the U.S. war effort in both World War I and II. Several tribes provided Native American speakers for telephone squads on the French battlefields in World War I. Additional tribes sent soldiers to join the code talkers of World War II, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and the Pacific. The languages used by American Indians greatly assisted their fellow American soldiers in the heat of battle by transmitting messages in unbreakable battle codes. The Navajo code talkers from the World War II Pacific Theater were the most famous group, numbering approximately 420 by the end of the war.

For more information on additional Native Americans tribes honored in the Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medal Program, please visithttp://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/medals/?action=codeTalkers.

 

Teton_LG

Randy’L He-dow Teton (Shoshone-Bannock/Cree from the Fort Hall Reservation), was the model for the Sacagawea dollar.

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The Mohawk Language and Assassin’s Creed 3.

 

ACIII-Awaken_13_zps0f2a3800

Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 3 Game in the Mohawk Language!

This is so exciting I can’t tell you how happy I was to find out about this game. I do not study the Mohawk language, but I do study Lakota and optimum learning methods. I know how many millions of kids love to play video games. Ubisoft has stumbled onto an awesome way to revitalize Native languages. Millions of kids love this game, and they are talking about how much they like the Mohawk language. Shé:kon. Skennen’kó:wa ken?  I must say I am impressed with the amount of Mohawk dialogue, a very good teaching tool as well as fun. Imagine some Mohawk parents telling their kids, “go play your Assassin’s Creed 3 game!”

Here is a description from Wikipedia:

The story is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution from 1754 to 1783, and follows Desmond’s half-English, half-Mohawk ancestor,Ratonhnhaké:ton (/ˈrədnˈhəɡdn/), also known as Connor, as he fights the Templars’ attempts to gain freedom in the colonies.

Here some examples from the game demonstrating the use of the Mohawk language:

For a detailed account of the Mohawk language project for the game, go to this article.

 

Posted in Dakota language course, Dakota language instruction, Hidatsa language instruction, Lakota Language, Lakota language course, Lakota language instruction, Nakota language course, Nakota language instruction, Native American Languages, Native Americans, Native education, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lowering the High Native Student Dropout Rate

Improving Academic Performance of Native Kids

American Indian and Alaska Native students have a dropout rate twice the national average; the highest dropout rate of any United States ethnic or racial group. About three out of every ten Native students drop out of school before graduating from high school both on reservations and in cities. These kids are a most valuable resource, yet they are falling behind academically. Are there some tools we can give them to correct this? Yes, and I believe there are great approaches to learning that can help them excel.

2015-spring-grads

There were 39 Native medical professionals that graduated from The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center 2015

This is an amazing talk by one of the most important researchers of developmental psychology and of what makes kids succeed in school, and in high school, and at college. Walter Mischel really gets it right. Oddly enough, what his research tells us turns out to be the same principle as  wówačhiŋtȟaŋka or perseverance (one of the 12 Lakota virtues).

images

Wówačhiŋtȟaŋka or perseverance is in the bottom right corner of the Sinte Gleska University Logo.

Luther Standing Bear

Ota Kte, (Luther Standing Bear) was a very patient man.

 

More information from Walter Mischel.

 

kipp

The Kipp Schools applied some of these ideas.

 

Kagan

Simple Tools to Jump Start Academic Performance

Dr. Jerome Kagan of Harvard is another of the key researchers of developmental psychology. In this video clip, Dr. Kagan explains some simple techniques, simple tricks children and teens can use to improve their scholastic performance today. No, it does not involve cheating. 🙂

Learned Helplessness, Boredom, and Flow

Learned helplessness is giving up. In the context of learning it is when you feel that you are overwhelmed by something, it is too difficult, you get frustrated, in other words you hit a wall and give up. Basically, it is a mismatch between a problem and your skill set.

Indian_Sign_Language_Give_Up

Plains Indian Sign Language for Give Up, the index finger his a hard object and then falls away.

Boredom occurs when we have too much control, the material is too easy, and we don’t feel challenged. Flow is when our skill set and the problem are well matched. We feel confidence in our own skilled effort. We overcome the challenge and feel a sense of accomplishment. Matching school curriculum to student’s abilities allows them to advance. Add some intermittent and temporary challenges, something unexpected and novel to pique interest to keep it interesting and fun.

Demand Better Schools: Native Kids Need Local Schools, Proper Facilities, and Culturally Based Education.

shannen-koostachin

Education Activist Shannen Koostachin

There is inequitable funding for Native schools. This needs to improve for these kids to be able to meet the challenges in today’s world. There are many native kids that have to attend school far from home away from family and friends. These schools are often under funded and lack the basic essentials. Also, some of these schools do not provide a culturally based education leaving children confused about their identity, ignorant of their Native language, and short changed about their people’s history. This is a famous talk given by Shannen and her sister confronting the Canadian First Nations Education system.

Posted in Native Americans, Native education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of the Lakota Language Materials

Introduction

Mitákuyepi, čhaŋtéwašteya napéčhiyuzape ló.

(Lakota language exercises are at the bottom of page).

I have reviewed the Lakota language material and I have a few ideas about how to improve this course. If nothing else, I want to show the primacy of native speakers, or should I say the primacy of the natural conversations of native speakers, (at normal speed). It seems that many Native language courses are limited to ‘English sandwiching’ or English then Native phrase, English then Native phrase. This is a decent way to teach a language but it is not the fastest nor the best. In my experience (learning Japanese and Korean as an adult) the best method uses a commercially viable method that can be found in bookstores or in government foreign language programs. The best way to teach a language is to demonstrate conversations by native speakers in the target language only from the first day. Then, break down the dialogue with grammar, vocabulary, and explanations in English.  Next, expand the sentences from the dialogue with variations on the sentences, (see examples at the bottom of page). In this blog I will show how it is through hearing conversations that children learn naturally. It is how toddlers learn by the conversations of older kids, and it how teens and adults learn new words and phrases… from the conversations of others. We even pick up new words and phrases from people we never met on radio, t.v., and the internet. Rapid conversation by native speakers, (with no spoken English but only written English translation) is the best tool for learning. Native speakers are the final judge of what is correct usage of a language. Lastly, language is about social connections, this is the foundation of any language. Language allows us to cooperate, to understand each other, and to work together. Lastly,  I believe this type of learning is the most effective because conversation exercises all of the skills needed for language at the same time including context.

I have gained fluency in two of the most difficult languages as an adult and I think that the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) type courses, Barron’s Mastering Series were the reason for my proficiency. The Barron’s Mastering Series is  available used on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, (I recommend the CD versions) for Spanish, German, and French at discount prices. This is the best template for teaching a language. The FSI program is the product of millions of dollars spent by the U.S. government to develop the best foreign language training program. I have over 50 books on learning the languages that I have learned. Some of these books are good and some are bad. However, the best by far are the FSI style books. After using them I gained automatic control over syntax, vocabulary, and verb conjugation in these languages, (Japanese and Korean). In fact, my job is connected to my ability in foreign languages, we handle documents in over 17 languages daily. In short I have internalized the grammar and vocabulary of Japanese and Korean.

Hold on, what do these languages have to do with Native languages? Learning a new language is the same for all people. Japanese and Korean are some of the most difficult languages to learn for students. I am showing the best materials on the market. They can be adapted for a Native language course. If this same method is applied to learning a Native language, fluency will dramatically increase. My hope is that commercially viable language learning techniques are used by teachers of Native languages, and soon.

I mastered languages less by study and more by repetition of correct sentences, or over-learning. Later on, by living in these respective countries with complete immersion in the language, and continued study, I mastered these languages. From the moment I arrived in these countries I was conversant with native speakers because of the FSI courses. I think what I have learned could help you create a better Lakota second-language acquisition course, (for teens and adults). However, let me point out that I am not aware of the unique challenges that you might face in creating this course. I will also illustrate some general concepts about learning, cognitive psychology, and tie them all to my suggestions for how to improve this course.

It should be no surprise that the FSI method closely the natural human way of learning language. Native and otherwise. All this R&D to find out what your ancestors already knew. Many of the FSI courses are in the public domain. You can review any of 50 foreign language courses with audio and text for free on the Live Lingua site. (Click ‘Read Online” after selecting a language).

Here is a summary of the FSI method, (click for larger view):

summary

FSI method outline

The Importance of Language Preservation

Native American languages are unique to this continent. They grant access to rich cultural traditions. They also serve as a way to connect with others in the tribe, they give children direct access to the knowledge of their grandparents, provide a unique view on the world, and creates cultural continuity from time immemorial to the present. Also, for many young Lakota, the Lakota language acts as a bulwark against the feeling of being lost in mainstream culture. It acts like an anchor when young Lakota people experience cultural dissonance, (between the two cultures) by giving them a strong sense of identity and connection. Negative aspects of mainstream culture like sports team mascots and other things can cause damage to Native people. I think and a strong sense identity created by mastering a Native language can counter some of these negative effects. Also, if a young Native person has a strong identity, it can keep them gravitated towards the tribe and keep them strong during a journey to distant places.

teters2

Mascot Activist Charlene Teters

Organization and Presentation of Content

I think most of the content in the course is interesting, useful, and appropriate. However, I have some suggestions based on the discrepancies between how I learned and what I see in this course. First off, I think that there is too much English on the CDs and not enough Lakota, there are no model conversations, there is not enough information about appropriate usage, and the organization of the material could be more strategically presented. Now I will explain some concepts that will serve as the foundation of my suggestions. Once I have illustrated these ideas, I will make more specific critiques and suggestions on the content with examples.

Here is a flowchart of FSI lesson material. You can print it for review, (11″ x 17″ is recommended).

flowchart

Here is a video explaining the Native language lesson plan:

Learned Helplessness, Boredom, and Flow

Learned helplessness is giving up. In the context of learning it is when you feel that you are overwhelmed by something, it is too difficult for you, you are frustrated, you hit a wall and give up. More specifically it is a mismatch between a problem and your skill set to deal deal with it.

Indian_Sign_Language_Give_Up

Plains Indian Sign Language for Give Up, the index finger hits a hard object and falls away. -Interpreted by Col. Tim McCoy.

However, the worst thing that language learners face is learning incorrect words and phrases, (e.g. Aŋpétu wašté). This is because the student must unlearn the word or phrase, then learn the correct one, it is very discouraging. Boredom occurs when we have too much control or everything is predictable and we don’t feel challenged. Flow is when our skill set and the problem are well matched. We feel confidence in our own skilled effort. We overcome the next challenge and feel a sense of accomplishment. I found a good example of Flow in Units 4 and 5. The student is given exercises to practice in Unit 4, the meaning is clear, and then you take off the training wheels, then in Unit 5 there is only Lakota, (I wish the rest of the CD was more like Units 4 and 5).

This Flow concept is at the core of my criticism. My suggestion is that you should not be concerned with teaching Lakota alone, but you should be concerned with having students experience flow as much as possible, or confidence in their own skilled effort… feeling that they are challenged but can succeed in the target language without English. Put another way, you nurture the motivation of the student to learn by strategically presenting the material so it seems easy. Sounds impossible right? I beg to differ. This strategic presentation gives the student a feeling of confidence in their own ability to learn and gain control of the language. The FSI method which is based on model conversations, with accompanying grammatical notes and drills all in the target language only from the fist day offers this to students. At the end of the course they have reflexive control of the target language. The student should ultimately have control over the language in a Lakota only language situation.

Please watch Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi explain his concept of Flow, particularly
towards the end of the lecture.

Driving a Car, Language, and Flow

Another aspect to Flow was described by Jonathan Haidt when he showed how the mind works while driving in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis. The unconscious mind and the conscious mind can work together beautifully. For example, while driving. The learned behavior of how to drive is handled by the unconscious and the conscious mind is free to multitask. The conscious mind is free to listen to the radio and survey the road… Oh look at that sunset! Also, when a truck swerves too close, the unconscious is ready to react and before the conscious mind can think about it you already out of danger. In the context of language, Flow would be having a conversation in the target language but not being consciously worried about syntax, grammar, vocabulary, verb conjugation, or the ablaut before šni. Rather your conscious mind in concerned with deciding what you want to say, not the mechanics of how to say it. I believe this is most easily achieved for adult learners by model conversations and strategically planned language drills. Also, as the learned language skills become part of the unconscious it will react to situations before your conscious mind has time to think. Oháŋ!

The Power Hungry Brain and Strategic Learning

The human brain consumes a lot of energy, 20% of the body’s energy. Thinking is expensive and so is learning. This is why the most strategic and efficient study method is important in addition to maintaining Flow. A well planned out lesson keeps students interested, they feel capable and smart, and they are ready for more. There are some examples in the Lakota series that fit this, Unit 9, ‘Expressing Gratitude’ is one:

Wóphila
Wóphila héčha.
Wóphila tȟaŋka.
Wóphila tȟaŋka héčha.
Líla wóphila tȟaŋka héčha.

This type of instruction can be called, “backward chaining” or “reverse chaining.”

Unit 9 teaches, Wóphila. The student practices saying Wóphila. Then, the next phrase is Wóphila héčha and so on. This unit maximizes the students effort by building each phrase on the students previously practiced word and phrase. The student feels that they are progressing well with minimum effort. They feel that things are getting better, I am getting better at this language. This is very helpful to learners, encouraging further study. By breaking up long sentences for the student, you make them feel confident, not overwhelmed. Here is the key to good presentation; maximum results for the learner that require minimum effort.

Ogden’s Basic English and Word Frequency

There are approximately 400 million non-native speakers of English. Part of the reason for this number of speakers is Ogden’s Basic English program. It took word frequency studies and distilled English down to 850 primary words. If you think about it makes sense because if most of the words we use everyday are at the top of this word frequency pyramid, (e.g. I, she, go, come, under, on, eat, drink, sleep, book, table, bed).

word_usage_pyramid

Then words that we use less frequently will be lower on the pyramid, (tractor, diagnosis, rebate) and we can start to see how English could be condensed down to 850 words. Until you get to the bottom where there are only specialized words for certain professions, (e.g. ancillary reagent, resource holding potential, fixed action pattern). Most English speakers don’t know or care about the words at the bottom of this word frequency pyramid, (which is a large part of the language). However, if you work in medicine, biology, or ethology these words are at the top of the pyramid for you.

Therefore, I think that in order to promote the Lakota language the top of the word frequency pyramid is where it is at, or the most frequently used 850 words. Most people want to communicate in a daily usage sort of way, “Hey Tina” “Yes dear?”  “Can you make some frybread with wojapi?” “Um, I’m busy dear, make it yourself.” Everybody likes food, and they like to talk about food. Or how about, “Where’s the bathroom?” By verifying that a word or phrase is actually something you can use in daily life is a great way to get people to use your language material. The FSI program does a great job of this. Almost every word and phrase is useful in daily life. So they teach syntax, grammar, and vocabulary via repetition of useful words and phrases and not the other way around. I would like to see 200,000 Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota speakers. Basic Lakota anyone?

Some exercises from Ogden’s Basic English:

lbe2directions

directions

operations

Reliance on Target Language from Day One and Onward To Immersion

Martin Seligman taught that the opposite of learned helplessness is confidence in our own skilled effort. As applied to language learning I think this would be teaching what needs to be taught and then encouraging the student to exercise their knowledge, building their confidence. This way they learn that their locus of control is internal, they know that they can gain control over the language. Again, I think Unit 4 and 5 do this well. In Unit 5, the student is left to fend for themselves in a Lakota only question and answer situation.

My general suggestion for the course is I think there needs to be a more robust text book with a FSI style presentation. Also, I suggest that the audio portion be only in Lakota (with minimal English), with dialogues and drills at normal conversational speed. Again, you need train students to be able to fend for themselves in a Lakota only environment.

Language, Fractals, and Noam Chomsky

What is language? Is it the mechanics of producing the sounds or is it about the underlying structure? My personal opinion is that language is more about the latter. According to Dr. Robert Sapolsky, (see video below) our brains are designed for conversations. Language is a collection of conversations and not a collection of words and phrases…. language is a collection of exchanges, (signal and feedback). Much like the self-similarity of a Romanesco cauliflower, how each floret is a miniature of the whole cauliflower, each conversation reflects the underlying structure of the whole language, (of course not all the syntax and vocabulary are in each conversation). Structurally, the a language and a conversation in that language are one and the same. Dialogues are a microcosm of a language, conversations beget conversations, and conversation is the ultimate goal of a language learner. Why not dive right in from the start?

IMG_1678

A fractal Romanesco cauliflower

When you learn language with the FSI method each lesson begins with a model conversations. The social aspect of language is emphasized, the method can basically be described as conversation and listening comprehension exercises. The conversations in each lesson deal with a particular subject and are divided further into several mini dialogues.

chomsky

The rest of the lesson deals with grammar, vocabulary, drills based on the sentences in the conversations, and finally exercises that have the student demonstrate proficiency for that lesson.  There is also the benefit of contextual usage when teaching using conversations. By this I mean that by learning a language this way, the student can explicitly be shown context in grammar notes that would be otherwise difficult to understand. I think this method gives students a sense of accomplishment at the completion of each lesson. Another benefit of the material being broken into lessons is that you assuage the student’s guilt of not mastering the whole book in one sitting and thereby encourage further study.

The reason  the Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe series is so great is that it involves the living conversational language, it is engaging, there are dynamic interactions, it has dialogue with affect and prosody, with songs… and its fun. I hope that you can create Lakota language materials for adult learners based on dynamic conversations with multiple characters or voices, male and female, in the future. Let the students hear Lakota as a living language.

Implicit memory, Let the Muscles of you Tongue Remember for You.

Explicit memory is the recalling of facts, dates, and such. Implicit memory is when you remember how to do something, like riding a bike. Once you learn, you just know and do it. You then can focus on where you want to go and the surroundings. The heart of the FSI method is the dialogue but the way that content is memorized is via the drills. The drills use repetition and it takes the place of explicit memory learning, (although not completely)… the muscles of your tongue, mouth, and throat remember for you. This way language becomes reflexive. Grammatical notes can take a back seat to actual speaking and the student is able to use words and phrases in conversation. Helmholtz was right, thinking takes time, and when having a conversation we often don’t have time to think, we just want to say the right thing quickly. Híŋ!

Exploring the Underlying Cognitive Processes of Language

Here Douglas Hofstadter talks about the process of analogy making and language. It is well worth students and teachers of language to get a little background on what goes on behind the scenes of language.

Analogy Making and the Importance of the Conversations of Native Speakers

Our minds are built for conversation, for listening and learning from the conversations of others. The primary faculty for this learning is learning by analogy. For example, I heard a older sibling or cousin use the term, “Wichokaƞhiyaye kiƞháƞ” (at noon) in a sentence. By the context in which it was heard, I will now use it. So, we hear native speakers use a term or phrase that is unfamiliar to us and we learn the term and the context in which it was used. Then we make an analogy or when we think there is a similar situation, (analogous to the time we heard it used before), we start to use it. Exposure to conversations is the ancestral way of learning a language. The Barron’s Mastering Series follows this way.

FSI Drills and Mastering Unique Sounds and Pronunciation

I think another benefit to FSI style drills is that they can reinforce proper pronunciation and intonation. The drills are at conversation speed, as if you are overhearing someone speaking, with the proper conversational intonations, proper prosody, and not in some strange classroom dialect. This way the student, through repetition and careful listening can mimic this pronunciation and it becomes part of the implicit memory as well. As a result, proper pronunciation and intonation come out automatically.

Wrong is Worse Than Bad

Again I will say that if a student learns an incorrect sentence or pronunciation than it is worse than not studying at all because they have to unlearn and then relearn the correct version. If someone learned wrong information and commits it to explicit memory, it is worse still.

Description of the FSI Method

Note: The Barron’s Mastering Series is available with audio in Spanish, German, French, etc. for discount prices on Amazon. These are a great template for creating native lessons.

FSI is the United States Federal Government’s primary training institution for employees of the U.S. foreign affairs community, preparing American diplomats as well as other professionals to advance U.S. foreign affairs interests overseas and in Washington. One very special FSI language course is Beginning Japanese by Eleanor Harz Jorden, one of the most challenging languages. The origins of this program began during World War Two. The FSI method was used for 70 foreign language courses at the height of the Cold War. You can benefit from the millions of dollars of research and effort that went into creating such an effective method for second-language acquisition.

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However, the original FSI method involved doing drills in the target language for eight hours a day. Much later, Barron’s Mastering Series adapted the techniques of the FSI program for commercial use by shortening and simplifying the content. Thank God! There are numerous second and third generation FSI style foreign language books in use today.
A good example of this can be seen with Hippocrene Books, Beginner’s Series:

Beginner’s Korean is a great second generation FSI course based on model conversations, (with 2 CDs in Korean only). Many other languages available.

Beginner’s Korean follows the FSI presentation method. Introduction to pronunciation, basic reading of characters, greetings. Followed by lessons with model conversations, (with very usable phrases) in Korean only, English translation on a following page, play by play grammar notes and vocabulary on conversation dialogue, expansion of dialogue, and exercises.

It is important for language teachers to create lessons that fit the Flow set point of their audience. Basically, FSI is over-learning to obtain automatic, reflexive control over a language with graduated difficulty. The usefulness of this to students of language can’t be over emphasized. It makes learning the most difficult language possible.

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A Most Difficult Language Made Easier with Barron’s Mastering Series FSI Course

One important point is that this volume is only concerned with only spoken Japanese. This volume uses a phonetic representation of Japanese using English letters and there are more advanced volumes that use the writing system. I suggest that for Lakota, an introduction to the writing system is fine, then emphasizing the spoken aspect so the student can become fluent. After the student has basic command of the spoken language and grammar, the writing can be emphasized more.

Sample Lesson From Beginning Japanese by Eleanor Harz Jorden

Please read the introduction to Beginning Japanese. This approach allows the student to use the material effectively: Introduction.pdf

After the introduction, this textbook an introduction to pronunciation and pronunciation drills. Which can be seen here: Beginning Japanese.

Then the lessons begin. I have prepared the first lesson from this book with audio. Of course I am not asking that someone learn Japanese but rather that you can benefit from the principles of this highly structured and efficient lesson presentation that uses minimal English in teaching.

No_English

Please note that although the Barron’s lessons are
shorter versions that the original FSI lessons, they can be easily shortened further to accommodate the target audience and still be effective.

Please review the Introduction and Lesson 1 with audio.

Text is here: Japanese.pdf. (I suggest printing this pdf for review with audio).

The audio is here:

Sample Lakota Drills Using the FSI Method

Here I have laid out some Lakota drills in the FSI style. This is assuming that there would model conversations and grammatical notes on which these drills are based on. Minimal English is used, maximum Lakota is used. Mind you these drills are for the first lesson but right off the bat they dive into the language. Hóka hé!

Bold-faced words in the substitution drill ‘A’ will be used to signal the changed word to the student who is to utter the correct sentence in Lakota (at conversation speed with proper intonation) before the speaker on the tape says the answer phrase. Note, the pause time in the audio between when the tutor first speaks and the answer. This pause allows the student time to say the correct phrase. However, if the student fails, the correct phrase is said by the tutor, reinforcing the student’s knowledge.

Please pardon my poor Lakota pronunciation. My intent here is not to teach Lakota but to demonstrate the FSI text and audio presentation techniques… specifically the strategic building up the students ability, planned pauses, and minimal use of English. Can you answer before the answer comes? Try it first while reading the text below. Next, try giving the answers before the voice on the audio does without looking at the text.

The lesson follows these rules:
1. Teacher says the model sentence, the student repeats it.
2. The teacher says the new word to create the next sentence.
3. The student says the new sentence with the new word.
4. The teacher give the correct sentence and then the next new word.

The audio part of these drills is here:

DRILLS

A. Substitution Drill

1. That horse (over there) is white.           Šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ká ská.
2. That horse (over there) is grey.            Šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ká ȟóte.
3. That bird (over there) is grey.               Ziŋtkála kiŋ ká ȟóte.
4. That bird (over there) is brown.           Ziŋtkála kiŋ ká ǧí.
5. That bear (over there) is brown.          Matȟó kiŋ ká ǧí.
6. That bear (over there) is black.            Matȟó kiŋ ká sápe.

B. Response Drill

1. Šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ȟóta he? /No/         Hiyá, šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ȟóte šni.
(Is the horse grey?)                                    (No, the horse is not grey.)
2. Šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ǧí he? /Yes/           Haŋ, šúŋkawakȟáŋ kiŋ ǧí.
(Is the horse brown?)
3. Matȟó kiŋ sápa he? /No/                   Hiyá, matȟó kiŋ sápe šni.
(Is the bear black?)
4. Šunǧíla kiŋ šá he? /Yes/                     Haŋ, šunǧíla kiŋ šá.
(Is the fox red?)
5. Kimímela kiŋ ská he? /No/                 Hiyá, kimímela kiŋ ská šni.
(Is the butterfly white?)
6. Šuŋmánitu kiŋ tȟáŋka he? /No/         Hiyá, šuŋmánitu kiŋ tȟáŋka šni.
(Is the coyote big?)
7. Zičá kiŋ čík’ala he? /Yes/                     Haŋ, zičá kiŋ čík’ala.
(Is the squirrel small?)
8. Pispíza kiŋ zí he?  /Yes/                     Haŋ, pispíza kiŋ zí.
(Is the prairie dog yellow?)

bird-on-branch-for-tutorial (1)

C. Substitution Drill

1. What is this?                                                                                 Lé táku he?
2. What is that (near you)?                                                              táku he?
3. What is that (away from us)?                                                      táku he?
4. What are these (two things)?                                                     Lenáuŋs táku he?
5. What are those (two things near you)?                                    Henáuŋs táku he?
6. What are those (two things over there)?                                 Kanáuŋs táku he?
7. What are these (things-more than two)?                                 Lená táku he?
8. What are those (things-more than two near you)?                Hená táku he?
9. What are those (things-more than two over there)?             Kaná táku he?

D. Response Drill (In a more advanced lesson).

Tutor: Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘horse’ eyápi he?  ‘How do you say ‘horse’ in Lakota?’ Student: Lakȟótiya ‘šúŋkawakȟáŋ’ eyápi          ‘In Lakota we say (šúŋkawakȟáŋ) horse.’

2. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘cat’ eyápi he?              Lakȟótiya ‘igmú’ eyápi.
3. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘bear’ eyápi he?           Lakȟótiya ‘matȟó’ eyápi.
4. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘bird’ eyápi he?           Lakȟótiya ‘ziŋtkála’ eyápi.
5. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘house’ eyápi he?        Lakȟótiya ‘thípi’ eyápi.
6. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘man’ eyápi he?           Lakȟótiya ‘wičháša’ eyápi.
7. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘woman’ eyápi he?      Lakȟótiya ‘wíŋyaŋ’ eyápi.
8. Tókheškhe Lakȟótiya ‘star’ eyápi he?            Lakȟótiya ‘wičháȟpi’ eyápi.

E. Expansion Drill

1. Gratitude, Thanks            Wóphila.
Am grateful                           Wóphila héčha.
Much grateful                       Wóphila tȟaŋka.
I am much grateful              Wóphila tȟaŋka héčha.
I am very much grateful      Líla wóphila tȟaŋka héčha.

2. Shake your hands                                               Napéčhiyuzape.
Shake your hands                                                   Napéčhiyuzape ló.
I shake your hands with a happy heart              Čhaŋtéwašteya napéčhiyuzape ló.
My relatives, I shake your hands                          Mitákuyepi, čhaŋtéwašteya
with a happy heart.                                                napéčhiyuzape ló.

3. To see you                                        Waŋčhíyaŋke.
To see you                                            Waŋčhíyaŋke ló.
I am happy to see you                         Iyúškiŋyaŋ waŋčhíyaŋke ló.
I am happy to see you too.                 Míš-eyá iyúškiŋyaŋ waŋčhíyaŋke ló.

Notice how on the audio portion the lesson is designed to encourage the student to speak on their own? Teachers should not overwhelm the students, but should allow students to easily attain mastery over a subject by breaking down lessons into easy to learn parts. One was to do this is to have students learn one sentence and once they can say it smoothly, change one word in the sentence. Also, this can be done easily, for example by backward chaining as above. Otherwise students will say of themselves, Taŋyáŋ ečhámuŋ šni kiŋ naháŋȟčiŋ óthaŋiŋ.  (It’s obvious that I am not doing well yet). By adapting lessons to the students skill level teachers are saying, “Waslólyaya čha slol’úŋyaŋpi” (we know you are smart). Also, the expansion drill makes a long sentence easy to say. For more advanced drills, the student can be asked to insert multiple words into various sentences for substitution drills. Students can be asked to transform tense, politeness level, answer questions, pluralize a singular sentence, negate a sentence, and other things in transformation drills. Most aspects of conversation can be practiced this way. The basic idea is to reinforce a dialogue, with grammatical notes, with vocabulary, and with repetitive speaking exercises. Thereby, you commit the language to implicit memory and it becomes a new habit of the student. If they complete the lessons, they will not forget them. They will dream in Lakota.

Casual Learning as Gateway to Fluency

Some people that don’t have the dedication to master a language are often willing to
learn a few useful phrases. There have been many interesting phrasebooks I have read, like the Lonely Planet series. However, one stands out because of its popularity.

The ‘Making Out In’ language series is a great introduction to foreign languages. Available for many languages including Spanish. I will warn you, it does have an adult chapter. Aside from this, it is very well done and is very popular. This is because it provides instant conversational ability, albeit limbic. It also acts as a quick reference guide during conversation for what you want to say to someone, target language/English translation. I think this book has prompted more people to move on to serious study of foreign languages than any other book. With useful conversational entries like, “Don’t!” “Give me some!” and the ever useful, “I don’t know.” I am not recommending a Making Out in Lakota, but I think you could use this as reference material to create a phrasebook that would attract many new students. Another advantage to this type of useful phrase book is what I call pot shot language usage. A sort of guerrilla warfare of language. When people are speaking English just drop in some Lakota out of the blue. So for example they say, “When is Sally going to dance?” you reply, Ektáwapȟaya kiƞháƞ wačhí kte lo. (She will dance later today). You can just skip English and start speaking Lakota.

Text messaging and the Future of Lakota

Human beings are generational, every new generation wants to exert itself and put its stamp on the world. Language is no exception. Merriam-Webster has it right when they added many words that young people use to their English dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary adds 1,700 new entries. Young speakers of Lakota will probably come up with some unique Lakota words and innovations for texting, people should take notice.

A useful and interesting lecture on language by Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford.

According to Dr. Sapolsky, our lateralized brain is hardwired for statistical learning, infinite production of language from finite terms with prosody, and comprehension of other people’s language production and emotions. Infants can recognize what is signal and what is noise, what is language and what is not. By hearing a language for several years, children can learn to predict what should be said next in that language, how to construct a new sentence, and how to answer a question correctly… this is statistical learning for language. The FSI program in essence mimics this statistical learning, production, and comprehension with prosody, almost… Nothing is better for language acquisition than growing up hearing it.

In one of his books, Dr. Sapolsky mentions that humans can belong to multiple groups at once, and have a different status in each group. For example, someone may have job with a low level position. However, when they coach basketball they are an expert and on top of the world. In the same way, someone may not be good at math but be a master of Lakota and derive great satisfaction from it.

Looking Closely at Other Success Stories.

I read about some Native language success stories like Nahuatl, Cree, Navajo, and the revitalization of the Zuni language. There must be reasons behind their success and I wonder if their methods could be applied to the Lakota language?

Lakota Content, Programming, and Adult Immersion

Watching the 1491’s and Tonia Hall I can’t help laughing. At the same time, I realized that for at least part of the time they were speaking Lakota. On that note, Mathó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe (Lakota Bears) is a great resource too, it is entertaining and teaching you Lakota at the same time. I think the more Lakota programming and content there is the better for the language. As for adult learners, can you imagine a Lakota language only soap opera or love story? A Lakota only cooking show with high production value? How about a Lakota Immersion village? The U.S. government set up immersion villages for advanced FSI students to practice their target language. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a temporary Lakota immersion village where students could practice using Lakota, hearing Lakota, and seeing Lakota? Here is some great Lakota language content from a major motion picture, Šuŋgmánitu Tháŋka Ób Wačhí. After studying your course I can understand a lot of this dialogue in this movie without subtitles. Of course some of the actors are not Lakota, (Omaha for example) therefore their pronunciation is closer to the Dakota dialect. This scene is a great example of the traditional way children learn a language, by hearing other people have conversations. Did you notice the little kid?

The Path to Fluency is Can Be Fun

It is important to save the Lakota language but we can have fun doing it. Human beings like to be in control, have predictability… most of the time. Transient loss of control, and transient difficulty is the spice of life. As the student is learning, having unexpected surprises or challenges around each corner stimulates them and keep them going. However, with overwhelming difficulty or continuous challenges students will hit a wall, get frustrated, and give up.

Also, I think it would help students if you add some cultural notes, add some Lakota short stories for listening comprehension (a paragraph or two), and how about a song, a Lakota lullaby? Most importantly, provide content that references the words and grammar that the student has learned previously and thereby make learning Lakota seem easy.

Language, Economics, and Language Exposure

Why are there so many non-native speakers of English? I would say its economics. People’s own self interest, their livelihood is dependent on English. I think to increase the number of Lakota speakers a lot, a few things need to happen. Obviously there needs to be a connection between jobs and Lakota. I heard from a Canadian friend that the Cree Nation has gained official status for the language. Therefore, a interpreter must be provided by and paid for by the state if requested, (e.g. in hospitals or in courts). Another possibility is connected to tourism. The Lakota culture has a lot of clout with tourists, American and foreign alike. I wonder if a traditional Lakota village with Lakota speaking actors would work? A Lakota play with an English interpreter? Or how about teaching Lakota at a Lakota language and culture camp. Native and non-native kids could learn basic Lakota and some Lakota culture, e.g. handgames. I’m sure if the number of speakers starts increasing, businesses connected to the Lakota language would increase and even more people would be interested in learning the language.

There is yet another way to teach Lakota, Robert Greygrass tells a great bilingual Lakota story. Get you cedar, sweetgrass, and  tobacco ready:

Another idea is to promote the language publicly. One idea is bilingual signage. I would like to see Lakota language signage in Rapid City, among other places. Just seeing Lakota signage gives exposure the language, exposure can prime people to learn more, (think corporate logos and how they influence our lives by constant exposure).

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Lakota signage in the Turtle Creek Supermarket on the Rosebud reservation.

Imagine a Lakota themed restaurant with a bilingual menu. A coffee shop that is called Wakhálapi in Rapid City? I think it is a great idea and would give the language some exposure, it would bring some culture, it would add local flavor, it would attract tourists, and it would make quite a number of people very happy. Be proud of your language, tell the world! Use Lakota place names in your daily speech, Pȟežúta Ȟaká not Kyle, South Dakota. Repair the damage of the past with language. Represent!

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Road sign on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation Reserve in Canada.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have found this blog interesting and helpful. I think the Lakota language has a bright future because of your efforts. From the evidence presented here it seems that children need to hear a language spoken around them daily to learn it and adults need extra help to gain fluency. The FSI program has been demonstrated to be the most effective teaching method. Teachers of adult Native languages courses should take note of what methods show the best results and utilize them.

This continent is not Europe, never was, and never will be. I don’t think I can express all my feelings about the importance of Native Languages and culture very well, so I will let Graham Greene do it for me.

Keep up the good work!

Philámayayapi.
Aŋpétu kiŋ lé taŋyáŋ máni yo.

lakota-medicine-wheel

Artwork at top of page:”There’s One in Every Crowd,” by Dwayne Wilcox (Lakota).

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