VLOG Series #02: First Language Speaker Recordings

With Thohtharátye (Joe Brant)


[Thohtharátye introducing himself in Kanyen’kéha]

Hello everyone, my name is Thohtharátye Joe Brant from Tyendinaga Mohawk territory, working with Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre on a research project that involves first language speaker recordings and their use in adult language acquisition. And this came from a project called Ratiwénnokwas that was started five years ago that involved a number of first language fluent speakers coming together in a conference and the recordings going continuing over two days.

In those recordings, what we found was a number of great language resources, including stories, including monologues, including a number of debates in and around word use, old terms, idioms, etc. What was lacking from those resources though were conversations between speakers. Also lacking was some work in and around the use of language functions in different settings and language that’s used in different situations. As well, this was an opportunity for us to take a look at more language pragmatics, and the reason for that is as our second language learners are graduating from adult language programs in our community of Tyendinaga and as well in Ohsweken territory in and around Six Nations.

We lack the resources to have first language speakers join us, primarily because both communities don’t have readily-available first language speakers to use in and to have in their classrooms. So we began to co-ordinate groups to study the impact of conversational dialogue on language learning. So far, we’ve been able to have three study groups and used that, the resources and the knowledge collected to create a video that we are now looking at sharing with teachers and learners in adult language learning classrooms to see how we can organize and best create scenarios for our next Ratiwénnokwas language gathering in the fall of 2018, to ensure that our learners have access to the best material that they need, including their input on some of the conversation starters to elicit the conversation between first language speakers and the language functions that they determine as most necessary for their learners.

In this NEȾOLṈEW̱ VLOG Series video, Thohtharátye (Joe Brant), Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na, speaks about how his community is using first language speaker recordings to support adult language learners.