Project to digitize N̓syilxčn̓ Elder recordings

 

N̓syilxčn̓ is an Interior Salish language spoken in the southern interior of British Columbia and in northern Washington State. With fewer than 40 fluent Elders remaining, there is an urgent need to record fluent Elders and digitize the recordings for language education and revitalization, as well as train new speakers in the younger generation. The Syilx Language House was formed in 2015 to meet the need of creating new fluent speakers, recording Elders, and forming a speech community in the Syilx Nation.

In this project, community-based language workers in the Syilx Language House created new digital recordings of Elders storytelling and sharing oral literature in N̓syilxčn̓. The recording efforts continue via distance methods during the pandemic. They also filmed and shared beginner classes on their website and increased the capacity of online delivery, just in time for COVID-19 distance learning. The project has grown local capacity of the Syilx Language House for documenting language using technology and has expanded its library of digital language resources for several small groups of dedicated learners. The project was supported in part by the NRC's Indigenous Languages Technology Project.

The work was supported in part by the NRC's Indigenous Languages Technology Project.

Collaborators

Objectives

  • Meet with fluent Elders, record Elders speaking, archive and share freely
  • Work with Elders to transcribe and annotate recordings
  • Use the recordings in language education classes and other language revitalization activities
  • Grow capacity in the Syilx Nation for creating and digitizing language recordings
  • Teach adults in immersion, create filmed learning resources, and prove language immersion childcare for children of trainees, toward creating a new generations of speakers

Outcomes

  • 7 hours of recorded N̓syilxčn̓ stories, including audio, film, archived material, and transcriptions, published on the Syilx Language House website (see Elders VI)
  • New advanced, intermediate and beginner resources used in language classes and for self-study
dt-iltp-nsyilxcn-1-640x888.jpg

Teaching adults in immersion and sharing digitally at Syilx Language House

 

Project team

Syilx Language House (SLH)
  • Sʔím̓laʔxw Michele Johnson, PhD, Executive Director, SLH
  • Səxʷt̓ums Krista Lindley, Manager, SLH and TKTX partnership, Language Nest
  • St̓aʔqʷálqs Hailey Causton, Associate, SLH
  • Qʷy̓qʷʕay̓ax̌n̓ Levi Bent, Recording Expert, SLH
dt-iltp-nsyilxcn-2.jpg

Left to right: Səxʷt̓ums and Sʔím̓laʔxʷ from Syilx Language House

 
Language fluency and recording trainees
  • Xatma Sqilxʷ Flynn Wetton
  • St̓k̓masq̓t Skye Fay
  • St̓aʔqʷálqs Hailey Causton
Fluent Elders
  • Ulxaníc̓aʔ Larry Kenoras
  • Kʷuxastmínaʔ Victor Antoine
  • Čwyləx Thomas Pierre
  • K̓ninmtn̓ ta nq̓ʷic̓tn̓ Grouse Barnes
dt-iltp-nsyilxcn-3.jpg

Elder Kʷuxastmínaʔ Victor Antoine in a recording session in 2019

 

Contact us

Sʔím̓laʔxw Michele Johnson, PhD
Executive Director, Syilx Language House
Email: michelekjohnson@gmail.com

Roland Kuhn, PhD
Principal Research Officer, Project Lead
Indigenous Languages Technology Project
Telephone: 613-993-0821
Email: Roland.Kuhn@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Related links