Keep a Language Alive

Language Hunting techniques are designed to quickly revitalize the daily conversational life of a language—the core of its vitality. When families and communities are able to speak naturally and enjoyably with each other, language thrives!

Fluency over Literacy

In language revitalization, the usual academic emphasis is to document languages in crisis and then create curricula aimed at developing literacy, rather than revitalizing the basic conversational life of a community. The conventional classroom approach—workbooks, textbooks, chalkboards, homework—can overemphasize literacy and “knowledge about” the language, rather than fluency, too early in the learning process.

Though the Language Hunting system recognizes the value of literacy, its primary emphasis is on keeping the language and culture alive through the traditions that already exist. By focusing on daily conversation, and the technical language of traditional crafts expertly practiced by the community—canoe building, hunting, ethnobotany, and other Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)—Language Hunting supports communities by revitalizing languages naturally intertwined with traditional cultural practices. This has a double impact; both the language and traditional expertise benefit.

The Goal: Self-Sufficient Communities

The ultimate goal of the Language Hunting approach is to create self-sufficient communities of language revitalization, with no need for outside experts to help them maintain the vitality of their language. To free them from the need for big budgets, academic patronage, expensive multimedia tools and burdensome technologies, and create highly skilled language revitalization activists who can maintain the vitality of the language through a simple conversation over a cup of tea.