If you or your family has connections to the Chickasaw Nation and you’d like to learn the language, now is your chance. The Chickasaw Nation has recently released a Chickasaw Language Basics Application now available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The first of its kind developed by any Native American tribe or nation, the Chickasaw Language Basics application lets you learn the Chickasaw language anytime or anywhere.
Chickasaw speakers Jerry Imotichey, Rose Shields Jefferson, JoAnn Ellis and Joshua Hinson bring the language to life in this first-of-its kind app for learners. The Chickasaw Language Basic App offers hundreds of Chickasaw words and phrases for rapid language acquisition, and songs and videos to make the process fun! The program is organized by categories, including the alphabet, greetings, kid’s phrases and hymns. It even features two videos of the Chipota Chickashshanompoli (Children Speaking Chickasaw) Language Club. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. It requires iOS 3.0 or later.
As a person of Native American decent, I like the idea of having a language app readily available for Native American language learning. Being able to have the program on hand any time you have a few minutes between appointments or picking kids up from school makes the program practical and user friendly. The app definitely supports the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program founded in 2007, which works to keep this spoken language alive and well for Native Americans in the 21st Century. With more and more native languages dying out, it’s nice to see that the Chickasaw language has a firm stance to continue thriving.
The welcome screen is easy to navigate and the categories clear and easy to understand, which makes getting where you want to go in the app simple and fast. This is important since it’s meant for learning on the go. Since Chickasaw is primarily a spoken language, it’s nice to hear the words as well as see them spelled out phonetically on the screen. Handing my IPhone to my kids to do a little Native American language learning on the go makes the idea of capturing that part of my family history less daunting. I think both children and adults will love learning Chickasaw through this fun and educational tool.
Before the language app became available, Chickasaw had to be passed down from one person to another. People interested in learning the language who didn’t have Chickasaw speakers in their home or extended family had to go through a master’s apprentice program, through a community program or teach themselves. The Chickasaw Language App takes the guesswork out of the language learning for self-taught Chickasaw speakers. Seeing the Chickasaw Nation move to an e-learning option makes me hopeful other Native American tribes will get on board. Apps of this kind would make it easier for more people of Native American heritage to learn the language of their ancestors.
The Chickasaw Language Basic App is available for free download at www.Apple.com/iTunes. For more information about the Chickasaw language or the app, contact the Chickasaw Language Department of the Chickasaw Nation at (580) 272-5310.