Ax toowú át wudikeen, my spirit soars: Tlingit direct acquisition and co-learning pilot project
Johnson, Sʔímlaʔxw Michele K.
Johnson, Sʔímlaʔxw Michele K. 2016. Ax toowú át wudikeen, my spirit soars: Tlingit direct acquisition and co-learning pilot project. Language Documentation & Conservation 10. 306–336.
Many Indigenous languages, including Tlingit, are critically endangered and in urgent need of new adult speakers within the parent-aged generation. However, no consensus exists on language revitalization strategy, curricular design, lesson plans, assessment, or teaching methods. A small Tlingit cohort courageously developed and piloted a new curriculum and acquisition method by following a proven curricular design borrowed from an Interior Salish language, Nsyilxcn. This article introduces broad concepts such as the motivations behind language revitalization and quality immersion strategies for creating proficient speakers. It further describes recording techniques, the creation of sequenced curriculum designed for learners to raise each other up while teaching, and training learners to teach. It also presents a story of Tlingit language activism blended with Syilx language activism, specifically the direct acquisition method and its successful application by an adult cohort of beginner Tlingit learners.