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The Naskapi language is unique in northern Quebec because of the Naskapi people's late contact with Europeans, their geographic isolation, and the high proportion of Naskapi speakers in their territory. For the last two decades, a language development strategy has been emerging in the community as outside language specialists have been invited to help with specific projects and growing numbers of Naskapi speakers have become involved. During this period, little progress was made by the education system to increase Naskapi literacy rates. However, the Naskapi Nation Council and Naskapi Development Corporation were committed to language maintenance. Assisted by linguists from the Summer Institute of Linguistics, their projects have included compilation of the Naskapi lexicon as the standard reference for orthography; documentation of Naskapi grammar; audiotaping of legends and oral history with a view to their eventual publication in Naskapi, French, and English; development of a system for keyboarding the Naskapi syllabic script; training for prospective Naskapi newspaper editors and radio announcers; translation of the Bible into Naskapi; and development of school curricula in Naskapi, beginning with preschool and first-grade materials. Efforts to maintain the Naskapi language will continue to require the expertise and partnership of non-Naskapi specialists and Naskapi speakers themselves. (SV)

Descriptors: American Indian Education, American Indian Languages, Canada Natives, Community Leaders, Community Programs, Educational Cooperation, Foreign Countries, Language Maintenance, Material Development, Native Language Instruction, Nonformal Education, Primary Education, Technical Assistance

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Autor: Jancewicz, Bill; MacKenzie, Marguerite; Guanish, George; Nabinicaboo, Silas


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