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Volume 17 Number 1
Abstract

Ojibwe Language Revitalization, Multimedia Technology, and Family Language Learning
Mary Hermes, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Kendall A. King, University of Minnesota

Although Indigenous language loss and revitalization are not new topics of academic work nor new areas of community activism (e.g., King, 2001; Grenoble & Whaley, 2006), increased attention has been paid in recent years to the ways that new technology can support efforts to teach and renew endangered languages such as Ojibwe. However, much of the work with Indigenous languages and technology thus far has been aimed at adults rather than children or families (e.g., Coronel-Molina, 2005). Addressing this gap, the current project examined how urban Ojibwe participants utilized computer-based language learning technology with their families at home. Specifically, we investigated how a particular multimedia tool might jumpstart communication in the Ojibwe language at home. During the two-month study, families were regularly video-taped using the software and participated in weekly audio-video recorded interviews regarding their language use and learning. Presented here is a fine-grained, qualitative analysis of two families’ language and technology use. Findings suggest that technology-based language learning was incorporated into existing family dynamics and was helpful in providing a starting point for learning and language use within established extended networks.

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