of Working with the Dakota Nakota Lakota Language
Too many dialects
Every community and in many cases even families have
their own way of talking which have become sub-dialects
of the five major dialects (Isañåi,
Hohe, and Iñyañ
have evolved from the original three dialects, Daíoþa,
These sub-dialects have evolved because of intermarriage,
isolation, and language shift.
The only positive aspect of having the many sub-dialects
is that it gives each community a uniqueness. On the
other hand, having so many sub-dialects causes conflict
between communities and even within communities
It is unrealistic to expect to develop instructional
materials for all the sub-dialects
Suggest working on developing the five major dialects
and making instructional materials for them. [In
Saskatchewan it would be the four Isañåi,
Too many writing systems.
There are a number of writing systems that were developed
by missionaries working amongst our people in the 1800’s
and early 1900’s. These were modified forms of
the standard English writing system and have been used
Since the early 1900’s, linguists have developed
writing systems for our language using the International
Linguistic Alphabet and modifications of it.
Our own people have made individual endeavours of making
writing systems ranging from modifications of 2.1, 2.2,
English phonics, and even syllabics.
Having so many different writing systems is causing
confusion, conflict between our people, causing inconstancy
in what is being taught to students, and making the
sharing of instructional and other materials very difficult.
is unrealistic to develop instructional materials
in multiple writing systems.
Instructional materials development should be
done in one writing system and that writing
system then should be what is used in delivering
The writing system used should make it easy
to go back and forth between English and
Should have only one sound for each letter.
Should clearly mark the sounds which are
different than those normally assigned to
the letter in English.
Should be consistent with its markings and
have a pattern in how the markings are assigned.
The writing system used by SICC does meet the
criteria identified above.
we had a formal way of speaking and an informal way
speech was slower, the words were longer, and the
sentences were wordier. This was the speech used
in council, public speaking, and when interacting
speech was faster, a lot of the words were contracted,
and the sentences were cut short. This was the speech
used in everyday conversation.
are loosing the formal speech and today people are
either speaking a mix of formal and informal or
only the informal. Complicating the matter is the
fact that many of the speakers today only speak
The formal speech is what should be used in
writing and the development of instructional
We are having a problem though identifying
what is formal and what is informal.
- Many words
are taking on new meanings.
there are many words which we are no longer using, and
because our language is verb based, we’re having
difficulty trying to figure out how to work them into
the teaching process.
Our language needs to be updated; it is frozen in early
1900’s mode. Also kids have a problem with words having
multiple meanings, ie: "to" means both blue and
green , "wowaöi"
means book, paper, notebook, and letter, and so on.
Our language historically was not a written language and
has not been taught in school systems in the same manner
that English has been taught. So we need to figure out a
process to take a student from being a non-speaker to being
able to understand, speak, read and write the language.
- We have
to remember that in our first language, whatever language
that was, we did not start learning by reading and writing.
We had five years of developing a comprehension of the
language, talking baby talk, and eventually talking
a more structured speech before we ever learned how
to read and write.
process we develop has to allow for students to
go through that natural process.