SHI launches the first Tlingit language game application


The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has released its first Tlingit apps for students who want to learn their native language using mobile devices.

The programs include an app with over three hundred Tlingit words, phrases and sounds, and an app that teaches Tlingit words to ocean animals and birds through interactive games, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We know our students are learning our Indigenous languages ​​in new ways, and technology plays a big role in that. It’s our effort to help learners revitalize Tlingit by learning the language through their mobile devices, ”said Worl, noting that the institute will continue to add new content through updates.

The “Learning Tlingit” app includes sections on vocabulary, phrases and the alphabet. The vocabulary includes seventeen categories, including animals, fish, food, geography, and plants. As users click on each category, a list of words is revealed and students can learn Tlingit spelling and hear the words spoken in Tlingit.

The sentences section includes categories for comings and goings, feelings, introductions, learning Tlingit and meal times and the alphabet section allows students to learn how to pronounce each sound. The app also includes a searchable index and a link to language podcasts, which will be available soon.

The app features audio from fluent speakers David Katzeek (Kingeisti), the late Johnny Marks (Kooteixtée) and Marsha Hotch (Guneiwtí). It also includes audio from Tlingit language learners Linda Belarde (Satóok) and Ralph Wolfe (Góos’k ‘) and linguists Keri Eggleston (X’aagi Shaawu) and the late Richard Dauenhauer (Xwaayeenák). As SHI updates the app, it will include audio from fluent speakers Nora Marks Dauenhauer (Keixwnéi), Fred White (Gunaak’w) and late June Pegues (Aan Yax Saxeex) and learner from Yarrow Vaara language (S’akjayéi).

The material was compiled by the SHI Education Project Coordinator, Katrina Hotch. Graphic designer Cika Sparck also contributed to the project.

The “Tlingit Language Games” app includes two programs that teach words for birds commonly seen in Southeast Alaska and marine animals native to the area. As the birds and marine animals move, users can touch them to see and hear the Tlingit words. The “Birds” game teaches the words for eagle, raven, owl, hawk, Steller’s jay, robin, sparrow and kingfisher. The “Ocean Animals” game teaches the words for beluga, blue whale, humpback whale, seal, sea lion, porpoise, killer whale, squid, jellyfish, herring and ocean. Students must take a quiz to exit game apps.

“We have already released these games and other interactive tools for desktop users and teachers told us that when we came up with a game that didn’t have a quiz, students, even young children, complained about it. ‘no test, “Worl said.” That’s the magic about these interactive games. Students have fun learning, they retain information and perform well on tests, so they want to take quizzes. . ”

Desktop versions of the games are available in the language resources section at The audio was recorded by the late Tlingit speaker Johnny Marks (Kooteixtée) and the games were illustrated by Kathy Dye, director of media and publications at SHI.

Both apps were published by the Sealaska Heritage Institute and developed by Wostmann & Associates of Juneau. They can be downloaded for free on i0S and Android devices. With the framework developed, SHI plans to produce Haida and Tsimshian versions in the future.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and intercultural understanding through public services and events. The institute is run by a board of directors and guided by a board of traditional academics. Its mission is to perpetuate and improve the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

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