Education

A Software Program for the Navajo Language

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 07, 2008 1 min read

A new resource is being developed that could be useful for schools with bilingual programs in Navajo and English—the first software system to teach the Navajo language. The software will be owned by the Cornville, Ariz.-based organization, Navajo Language Renaissance, and is being created with assistance from Rosetta Stone, a Harrisonburg, Va.-based company, according to a Jan. 6 Associated Press article.

A Dec. 6 Navajo Times article gives additional details, such as that the project is endorsed by the Navajo Nation Board of Education. I wrote about a bilingual Navajo-English school on the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Ariz., last school year, where teachers created some of their own materials to teach Navajo.

Rosetta Stone has already completed basic language software programs for Mohawk, Alaskan Inupiac, and Labrador, an Eskimo language, under its endangered languages program, which it launched in 2004, the Associated Press article says.

While teachers can translate books from English to Navajo or create posters in Navajo, I haven’t heard of any who have the time and money to create something as complicated as a language software program. That takes collaboration, and it’s good news that some experts have come together to produce materials for less commonly taught languages.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.