CSI 2015 participants had two classes on their agenda last week: Process Writing I and Neologism Development I. Both classes were co-taught by instructors Father Randolph Graczyk and John Boyle (pictured on the left). We caught up with John, the Linguistic Director for the Crow Language Consortium, to get his impression of this week’s classes and his overall perspective about this year’s institute as an instructor.
In the Process Writing class last, participants worked together to read two books—Prairie Dog Goes to School and The Buffalo and the Boat—and translate them into Crow. They also got a sense for how to guide 1st year language-learners using repetition of phrases, common vocabulary, and sentence frames to help students pick up on patterns of the language. John commented, “People really started to understand how to develop materials for kids; you have to simplify speech for them.”
As part of the class, participants were asked to write a story on Crow Fair. Everyone liked RoAnne Hill’s (a third year CSI participant) story so much, that we collectively decided to make it into a new book, which we will carry in our bookstore. Below is an example sentence from RoAnne’s story:
Ashtáalelak ashóowappe battúuk.
We put up teepees and tents.
Participants also brought in various pictures of Crow Fair—photos of people putting up teepees, photos of the parade like the one on the right, horse races, and other events. This way, our illustrator can make artwork that is true to character for the new book!
In the Neologisms class last week, students talked about word formation in Crow and had a hands-on experience creating 20-25 new words! Most of the words were things that you could use in the classroom, such as
map = annáau iiéhkuua, and even
play-dough = úukkisshe
So what was John’s impression overall?
“I think it went really well! Everyone’s learned a lot, I know that I certainly have! I think people are starting to see how they can integrate the material we’ve gone through into their own class materials; they are really seeing how the methods will help kids read, speak, and write Crow.” John added, “I think we definitely had some skeptics in the beginning. But after seeing the quality of the materials that we are producing, I think a lot of people are excited to use them, and to help out with the project!”
Although CSI 2015 is over, there is no reason to despair–we are continuing to create language materials for Crow! For the past two weeks we’ve been working with Crow speakers to accurately document the language. Many of our CSI 2015 participants helped us record stories, songs, and dialogues for future materials for Crow language learners. Check out some of the highlighted profiles on the Crow Language Consortium Facebook page.
We would like to thank Crow Agency and Little Big Horn College for welcoming us and hosting CSI 2015! We hope that the Institute will continue to flourish out in Crow Country. Ahóo to all of our organizers and participants–thanks to you, there are always new things to look forward to. Stay in touch, friends! And remember to use the hastags #crowlanguage and #speakcrow when talking about Crow!