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Dying Alaskan language revived with new book translation

Tlingit is a tribal language spoken mainly by about 500 people in southeast Alaska and is considered one of the highly endangered languages. Noted award winning author Ernestine Hayes who has Tlingit roots wrote simplified version of the classic story of The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse in the form of a book.

The book has been translated into Tlingit by local publisher Hazy Island Books with the help of Tlingit speaking elders. This is considered to be first of its kind – translating an English book into Tlingit. With limited vocabulary, it was a difficult task to translate the text into an oral language says the publisher Liz Dodd.

Through a grant from Association of Alaska School Board, free copies of the book are being distributed to students and teachers of the Tlingit language in southeast Alaska. An audio version of the same is also scheduled to be published soon. The latter would capture authentic version emulating old tones and patterns spoken by elders of the language.

For more information please visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/may/19/childrens-book-alaskan-language-tlingit

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