Home-Based Language Learning

In this NEȾOLṈEW̱ VLOG Series video, NILLA Coordinator and Research Assistant Robby Smoker-Peters (Nlaka’pamux) shares useful language revitalization and maintenance resources in the topic of home-based language learning.
Home Based Language Learning Cover

VLOG Series #01: Home-Based Language Learning

With Robby Smoker-Peters

Hi, my name is Robby Smoker. I’m Nlaka’pamux, I’m Interior Salish from Lytton First Nation, from the interior of BC. I’m also a researcher here at the University of Victoria, and I’ve been working with the NEȾOLṈEW̱ language revitalization project since October, 2017. Language revitalization, reclamation, and maintenance is happening in a vast variety of places. One of the main duties that I carry out here is providing our community partners with literature reviews on special topics of interest. One such topic that I spent quite a bit of time on researching was home-based language learning strategies. That is to say, how families can revitalize and learn their language inside the home.

Throughout my research, I found that there were approximately four key pieces of literature pertaining to home-based language learning. Each piece of literature was unique, in that it focused on utilizing technology, where others were curricula-based and others were shared examples of, say, best practices. Two sources that I found were books, one was an academic journal article, and one was a CBC News interview. And I found each piece of literature offered accessible, practical, and functional tips, as well as best practices for better understanding home language revitalization endeavours.

The first article is the journal article published in the journal Language Learning & Technology, which followed an Ojibwe family who were learning their language through an online multimedia tool called Ojibwe Modaa.

The second article is an interview that was published by the CBC News, which interviews youth from Squamish First Nation who were living together in a DIY language house in Vancouver.

The third, and perhaps the most helpful piece of literature that I reviewed was a book written by Leanne Hinton titled Bringing our languages home: Language revitalization for families. This book offers many different insights to at-home language revitalization efforts from across the world. It’s autobiographical in nature, which provides extensive insight into the lives of thirteen families working towards language learning collectively. As a result, readers can draw best practices, tips, and become aware of the challenges that may be faced, based on these families’ experiences.

Lastly, I reviewed a condensed master’s thesis from an Anishinaabe-Haudenosaunee named Rawnda Abraham titled Nii-bii-go-nini Ojibwe language revitalization strategy: Families learning our language at home. Although this article is scholarly in nature, this book also offers constructive frameworks, assessment tools, and work plans for at-home language revitalization.

And if you’re interested in reading any of these pieces of literature, I’ve provided a bibliography of the authors and titles below in the comments. Thank you! kʷukʷscémxʷ!


Abraham, R. (2011). Nii-bii-go-nini Ojibwe Language Revitalization Strategy: Families Learning Our Language at Home. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Mülle.

Hermes, M., & King, K. A. (2013). Ojibwe Language Revitalization, Multimedia Technology, and Family Language Learning. Language Learning & Technology, 17(1), 125- 144.

Hinton, L. (2013). Bringing Our Languages Home: Language Revitalization for Families. Berkeley, California: Heyday.

McCue, D. (2015, February, 4). Skwomesh Language Revitalized by First Nation Youth Through DIY Immersion. Retrieved from CBC News Indigenous: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/skwomesh-language-revitalized-by-first-nation-youth-through-diy-immersion-1.2940513