Revitalizing a Language
For the past couple of months, I have had the privilege and honor to serve as a Linguistics consultant for the Indigenous Cultures Institute. My role has consisted in researching and guiding the development of Teaching materials for the revitalization of Coahuilteco, an Indigenous language from central Texas. This journey has been a rough one. The language has been considered extinct for over 100 years, and there are only secondary sources from linguists that have all studied one common text, a Spanish account of how to provide the sacraments to Coahuilteco people in the 18th century.
Working alongside a very motivated collection comprised of a pedagogy scholar and an indigenous language educator and researcher has really enriched this experience. Needless to say, we have faced the wall several times. Yet, more recently we have begun to database lexical items, and the primary source into the Fieldworks Language Exploration Software provided by the Summer Institute of Linguistics.
I can say that this process has been intellectually enriching, spiritually fulfilling, and sentimentally driven. We have just produced our first small 8-page dictionary of terms, and we are moving towards deciphering more of the grammar of the language for teaching purposes.