I just got some awesome feedback from local fluent speakers. A small group of people were looking at my mobile app for the first time and it started a great discussion about the different ways of talking about fish, fishes, and many fish. That is exactly what I hoped to achieve with my mobile software! Real live people talking freely about our languages and learning from real live fluent speakers!
For those new to me and my software: my first mobile app is titled “Talk Mohawk 2012” and available in the apple app store for iPhones, iPods, and iPads. It provides very basic introduction to the (Mohawk) Kanien’keha alphabet, sounds, numbers, days, weeks, months, and very rough translations and audio for preparing to do the ThanksGiving Address (Words Before All Else). I use this software to prepare me for practicing more advanced speaking and sentence building by practicing some of the more difficult pronunciations that non-fluent speakers may have the most trouble pronouncing & remembering. I also intend for my software to give brand new speakers more confidence to start speaking and practicing & discussing all the different ways we can speak with fluent speakers in public settings.
One speaker is never more right than another and we have 7 dialects. Each and every speaker has their own accents and unique ways of communicating, understanding, and world views too. Personally, I change my pronunciations when an elder fluent speaker demands that I pronounce differently than another elder taught me. I do this out of respect because I know that we each have our own valuable experiences. I have my personal preference and own unique accent when I talk, but if I see my voice is making a fluent speaker uncomfortable I prefer to do what I can to let them know that their way of speaking is valued and respected too. I am happy to hear our languages living and I really do enjoy when fluent speakers help me to improve my communication skills with Kanien’keha. I hope that someday soon, I will not be depending on machines to help me learn how to speak. I intend for my software to help everyone to also learn how to form their own sentences and learn how to communicate with fluent Kanien’keha speakers too.
My software is not giving literal translations at this time – that is useful for those that have alot more experience with Mohawk language, culture, and world views. Literal translations with the long explanations are not so helpful for fluent english speakers that are totally new and it does not create an experience where a brand new learner is able to quickly, easily start practicing speaking an endangered language in public places with many different people.
Please do let me know if you want specific translations, voices, for specific devices and I’ll do what I can to help. Did you know that I can develop a mobile app that lets you hear your own grandparents voice and translations? If you only want that available for your own family or group, I can make that happen to. Just contact me and I’m happy to do all I can to revive our beautiful languages.