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A guidebook, designed for any language, that learners can use to learn language in their community.
26 backers pledged $1,812 to help bring this project to life.

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$1,812

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Ola! (an acronym for Oral Language Acquisition) is language-ambiguous guide to learn to communicate in any language. No teachers, outside experts, or grammars involved-only speaker and learner are needed.

It is a series of exercises and lessons directed towards oral language retention aimed to get the user to create unique expressions in their language. It guides the user to understanding linguistic elicitation, and cultural participation methods to allow them to continue developing their own language inquiry beyond the lessons given.

Ola! is language ambiguous, and can work with any language. Only speaker and learner are needed.

About the Project

We propose your input using this system. Use the book to in the language group of your community.

This Kickstarter hopes to make this book available to language groups interested in revitalizing their language in youth and young adults using the speakers that are in the community. The book can similarly be used as curriculum for the Master-Apprentice program.

The book is 6x8 inches, with 131 pages of activities, instructions, and advice.

How Ola! Started

The Houma Language Project is a group of tribal members and academic researchers who volunteer to sustain and protect unique language communities of South Louisiana. www.hali.to/world

We work with linguists and community members to collect, create, and share research on the Houma Native American language with the goal of facilitating language reconstruction and cultural revitalization.

Learn a heritage language by spending time with your speakers
Learn a heritage language by spending time with your speakers

Issue We Found

Oral language diversity creates difficulty when trying to formally conduct classes where dialect variations are contradictory. In this case the instructor must decide which variation is “better” as they are unable to describe, or may not know, all the possible nuances. If this teacher is the only source of language learning available, language growth is limited to their dialect. This creates a hierarchy of languages that inhibit the natural oral language diversity. Student/teacher situations require language-specific systems, and are often tailored to the end user age group. These formats are often structured learning tracks which decrease individual input.

In the community setting, the lack of input, and disenfranchised language structure diminishes group interactions and discourages language ownership. The only way to avoid this is to train each student in linguistics and allow students to educate themselves on their individual dialect.

How We Fixed it

Ola! presents structure for asking questions so communities can teach themselves. These questions guide the speaker into knowledge transfer. The interactions in the home, small group, or community settings strengthens communication and cultural relationships through language transfer. It challenges learners to ask honest questions, and improves both speaker and learner’s community communication skills with only a speaker and learners present, and both parties listening and watching.

This book is based on CoLang 2014 field training experience. We documented step-by-step how linguists worked with native speakers to learn a language. We focused on understanding what methods were used, how they worked, and what could be improved. Language learning tasks were then revised, compiled, and structured into a cultural participation model to create the activities in the book.

Ola! is based on linguistic field methods and cultural participation studies.
Ola! is based on linguistic field methods and cultural participation studies.

What's Next

In the future, we hope this book demystifies language analysis for any community looking to learn a language by working with a speaker. We want this book to become a tool for communities to claim ownership of their language with inter-generational groups learning and communicating with each other. This system is tailored for heritage language learning, but if it was translated, it could also be used for English as second language acquisition.

Speaking a language not only allows you to communicate, but it is a gateway for understanding stories, jokes, metaphors, and the way people think. Gaining access to these things brings one in contact with the values, traditions, and cognition of a culture.

This book hopes to provide a way for individual’s to connect with their culture by learning to listen, and using what they hear to communicate their expressions in the language.

Risks and challenges

The book needs beta testing within various language communities to refine the system by quantifying ways to increase language ambiguity while maintaining community relevancy in order to release a final revised system in 2016.

Your input and experiences after using the book in your community will help us evaluate if language learning can be presented ambiguously while maintaining community interest. This will help us evaluate if this system is feasible, and if development should continue.

Producing the books creates fees. Contributors can donate on Kickstarter till the end of January to raise $1,500 to cover layout, printing, shipping, ISBN fees, and copyright cost for printing 100 books.

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Funding period

- (31 days)