Crow Language Materials

Crow Fair 2016 Parade.

Parade at Crow Fair parade during August, 2016.

About the materials

This website and the materials found within are the result of efforts by Birdie Real Bird and Donna Old Elk, speakers of Crow and members of the Crow Tribe, and Edwin Ko, a linguist and educator. These resources were developed during August of 2016 to accompany a Crow language curriculum that incorporates task-based language teaching (TBLT). TBLT is an educational framework for second and foreign language teaching that promotes the use of authentic and meaningful communication through real-word 'tasks' (e.g. ordering a meal). Most of the language materials on this website therefore are intended to support the completion of tasks, which include salutations, small talk, and meal talk. These materials may also be used on their own as a self-study or for other purposes.

Today, most speakers of Crow are elders. While the middle generation (i.e. the parents) can understand Crow, many do not actually speak it. Children cannot learn the language if they do not hear enough of the language being spoken, and as children age, learning languages become increasingly more difficult and less successful. Therefore, most children today do not speak or understand the language. Language loss is the result, in part, by a decline in overall language use across social domains, and a social divide between the older and younger generations. The approach we take here therefore is to place an emphasis on the most pervasive social settings in which the Crow language can be used. Essentially, re-introducing and promoting language use in these domains is the first step towards the overarching goal of increasing proficiency rates in Crow Country.

Language revitalization is a timeless process. Its success is dependent upon the community’s investment, which include the learners, their parents and teachers who may also be learning the language, the elders, and others members in the community. It is simply not enough to just have a positive outlook surrounding these efforts; changing current linguistic habits and attitudes takes a significant amount of investment, and the whole community is encouraged to take part in this change in whatever capacity. For the Crow language to flourish, linguistic skills learned in classrooms must be transferred and supported outside, and permeate into households and other spaces of authentic language use.

This material may not be sold and no charges may be made for its use.

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