Rosetta Stone Chickasaw goes to next level

Rosetta Stone Chickasaw

A collaboration between the Chickasaw Nation and Rosetta Stone, the world’s leading language-learning software company, offers interactive language lessons for speakers of all levels. Currently featuring 80 lessons divided into two levels, Rosetta Stone Chickasaw level 3 will introduce 40 more lessons incorporating video, audio and still images.

The lessons are developed in conjunction with Native Chickasaw speakers. Rosetta Stone Chickasaw users work through lessons at their own pace and learn conversational Chickasaw phrases that can be incorporated into daily life.

Today, there are fewer than 50 fluent speakers of the Chickasaw language.

“Language and culture are intertwined in a manner that makes revitalizing our language essential to preserving Chickasaw culture and keeping it relevant for generations to come,” Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said. “This collaboration between our fluent speakers and Rosetta Stone is a significant part of our efforts to make the Chickasaw Language easily accessible to Chickasaws everywhere.”

A cloud-based program, users can access Rosetta Stone Chickasaw through a computer or mobile app for Android/Apple devices. Using available technology, the program helps ensure the Chickasaw language remains strong into the future and preserves an important part of Chickasaw culture.

“Language preservation is a critical component of perpetuating the Chickasaw Nation’s heritage for generations to come, and we are proud to work with them in creating this program,” Global President of Rosetta Stone’s Enterprise & Education Division Judy Verses said. “The Chickasaw Nation is helping put a spotlight on the importance of educating its people and preserving its heritage. We are excited to collaborate with them on what we see as a mission to reverse the tide of indigenous language extinction.”

Rosetta Stone Chickasaw is now available at no cost to Chickasaw citizens and to Chickasaw Nation employees and the general public at an associated cost. For more information, visit Chickasaw.net/RosettaStone.

About the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program

Traditionally, the Chickasaw people see their language as a gift given to them from Chihoowa or Aba’ Binni’li’ (God). As such, the Chickasaw people see it as their obligation to care for it, to learn it, speak it and teach it. The Chickasaw language revitalization program is designed to help people access this precious gift.

The program began in 2007, with the official department of Chickasaw language founded within the Chickasaw Nation in 2009. Rosetta Stone is one of many services designed to offer Chickasaws a variety of opportunities to learn the language.

Chipota Chikashshanompoli (Youth Speaking Chickasaw) language club meets once a month in Ada, Ardmore, Tishomingo and Oklahoma City. Students learn the Chickasaw language through total physical response method activities and songs. Students compete each year at the annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Fair.

Chickasaw community language classes take place each week in Ada, Ardmore, Oklahoma City, Purcell, Sulphur and Tishomingo, while East Central University in Ada offers Chickasaw accredited language courses throughout the year.

Other technical advances

The Chickasaw Nation has devoted many resources to both enhance the knowledge of existing speakers and to preserve the language for posterity. With more than 68,000 citizens worldwide, the Chickasaw Nation strives to present the language to all.

“The last Native speakers who learned the language at home were born in the late 1940s,” Joshua Hinson, director of the Chickasaw Nation language department said during a 2014 interview with the “International Business Times.”

“We want to know who we are as a people, but Chickasaws have always been on the cutting edge of technology. If I can make a canoe with a stone tool, but suddenly there’s an iron axe, then I’ll use the axe,” Hinson said.

“We want any Chickasaw on the planet to have quality content at their fingertips and to build a population of conversational speakers,” he said.

To reach speakers outside of the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation, the tribe developed programs such as the Chickasaw Basic app and made language lessons available on the tribe’s online TV channel, Chickasaw.TV.

The Chickasaw Basic app features hundreds of Chickasaw words along with phrases, songs and videos. Available to download from the desktop app is the Chickasaw Basic App Review and Assessment Workbook, a companion guide featuring language puzzles and quizzes.

Chickasaw Basic is available for desktop and Android devices at Chickasaw.net/anompa. Apple users may download the app at no charge from the iTunes App Store.

With the introduction of Chickasaw.TV, ways to learn the Chickasaw language became easily accessible. Chickasaw.TV has a channel dedicated to learning the Chickasaw language through lessons, songs, games and stories. Visit the Chikashshanompa’ channel on Chickasaw.TV.