Historic Crow Language Print Dictionary Released to Ensure Indigenous Language Endures

Contemporary Crow people continue to maintain their language despite the economic and cultural oppression they have faced for the last two hundred years,”
— Dr. Timothy McCleary
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES, June 2, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Years of concerted community effort have culminated in the historic release of a Crow language print dictionary on June 3rd, 2022. This print dictionary is considered the most comprehensive Apsáalooke (Crow language) dictionary that exists. Its release is a monumental step forward in the overall preservation of the Crow language.

The dictionary’s publication results from the efforts of hundreds of Native Crow Elders, speakers, knowledge keepers, and linguists who have collaborated to document, compile, and record over 11,000 Crow words. Its development began with Father Randolph Graczyk, who created an initial database of roughly 5,500 Crow language words. Father Graczyk shared the database he had worked to develop, and it became the foundation that Crow Elders and speakers built upon.

Rapid Word Collection (RWC) events, carried out with support from The Language Conservancy, grew the initial database to its current word count. “The RWC method involved more than sixty speakers attending two-week sessions between two sites: St. Charles Academy in Pryor and Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency,” Dr. Janine Pease, faculty member of Little Big Horn College and Chair of the Crow Language Consortium, explains. These speakers were asked to list as many words as possible from categories laid out by a support team of linguists.

“The dictionary is a key element in stabilizing the Crow language and giving the infrastructure and resources the language needs for long-term survival and vitality,” says Dr. Pease.

Accessible Crow language resources for future generations are fundamental to ensuring language endures. The importance of a print dictionary of this magnitude, one which truly encompasses the breadth of the Crow language, cannot be overstated. It represents hope for the continuation of Apsáalooke. “Contemporary Crow people continue to maintain their language despite the economic and cultural oppression they have faced for the last two hundred years,” writes Dr. Timothy McCleary, co-editor of the Crow Dictionary.

The print dictionary is the latest resource for language learners in a more extensive network of available CLC materials. Previously the CLC released an online dictionary, textbooks, picture books, and a media player app, adding to the overall number of available language-learning resources.

The release event will be held at the Wellness Center at Little Big Horn College on June 3rd, 2022 from 12 pm-3 pm. The event, open to all tribal members, will be a celebration honoring all those who contributed to this historic language project, and each will receive a free copy of the dictionary. The press is welcome and highly encouraged to attend.

The Crow Language Consortium is a collective of Crow schools, colleges, and educators that are working to preserve Apsáalooke to ensure it endures for future generations.

For further information, please contact:
Crow Language Consortium
pr@languageconservancy.org
(802) 961-6360

PR Coordinator
Crow Language Consortium
derek@languageconservancy.org

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