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First Web-based Native Language Class To Debut


January 12, 2008
Saturday AM

(SitNews) - The first ever web-based Native language course in Southeast Alaska will be offered by the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI).

The course, Elementary Haida I, will be taught entirely on the Internet, which will allow the institute to reach more students interested in learning the language.

"Web based instruction can reach anywhere, so whether you're living in Southeast Alaska or outside Alaska, people who want to learn the Haida language will be able to receive instruction in Haida," said SHI President Rosita Worl.

The course is an introduction to the Haida language as spoken in Alaska.  It will focus on developing a core vocabulary of several hundred words, as well as an understanding of many of the basic grammatical patterns in the language. Students will learn how to make statements, ask and answer questions, give descriptions of people and things, and talk about activities in both the past and the present.

All instruction will be carried out on the Internet. All course materials, including written lessons, audio files, interactive language games, grammatical exercises and homework assignments will be available through the course website.  Students will also be able to interact with each other and the instructor through discussion forums, email and other means throughout the semester. Students will not need any special computer equipment, aside from speakers, and all the software needed for the class is available free of charge. It is scheduled Jan. 14-May 2, 2008.

Students who complete the course will earn four credits through the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). The course will be taught by Haida Linguist Dr. Jordan Lachler, who operates SHI's office in Ketchikan and teaches Haida classes at UAS.
"We're very fortunate in having Dr. Jordan Lachler as a SHI staff member. He's a linguist who also focuses on language restoration and they're very rare in that field," said Worl, noting Lachler has studied with a number of fluent Haida speakers, particularly Erma Lawrence.

Worl hopes to eventually offer web-based courses for Tlingit and Tsimshian.


Source of News:

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI)


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Ketchikan, Alaska