Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NAT: Rosetta Stone Chitimacha

Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program Releases Chitimacha Language Software

ARLINGTON, Va. - Rosetta Stone, leading provider of technology-based language learning solutions, announced today the release of the Chitimacha language version of Rosetta Stone software for exclusive use by the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. Despite the death of the last fluent speaker in 1940, the Chitimacha tribe is reviving its language through collaboration with the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program. The Rosetta Stone immersion approach enables language learners to develop everyday proficiency by linking meaning and structure of a new language directly to real world objects and events without translation. The Chitimacha language version of the software has been created through a Rosetta Stone corporate grant with all distribution rights belonging to the tribe.

“We are honored that the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program can help the Chitimacha reclaim a piece of their heritage and cultural identity,” said Marion Bittinger, manager of the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program. “We are optimistic our work with indigenous groups will be a step towards reversing the tide of global language extinction.”

With no native Chitimacha speakers in existence, the tribe’s Cultural Department began its language revitalization program in 1997, using wax cylinder recordings and field notes made 65 years before by renowned linguist Morris Swadesh. The recordings and field notes allowed a few tribal members to immerse themselves in the complex grammar and vocabulary of the dormant language and learn to pronounce the difficult sequences of sounds. As a result of the grant, Rosetta Stone staff members collaborated in the adaptation of the software to teach concepts and structures using only the Chitimacha language.

“Language is really the heart of any culture. It’s not just about learning the words – it’s about the connection to your past,” said Kimberly Walden, Cultural Director of the Chitimacha Tribe and a key figure in the three-year effort to customize, record and produce the software. “The Rosetta Stone component of our language revitalization program will transform the way the Chitimacha language is taught. It will allow us to reach our entire membership regardless of their location and will enable the tribe as a whole to communicate as we did more than 75 years ago.”

Learning with Rosetta Stone is a natural choice for language revitalization programs as the award-winning solutions help users develop language proficiency without translation, memorization or conjugation tables. The Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program has developed software for several indigenous languages, including Mohawk (Kanien’keha), the coastal dialect of Inupiaq in Alaska and Inuttitut in Labrador, Canada. The North Slope Inupiaq and Navajo languages are also currently under development with Rosetta Stone.

About Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program

The Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program works with native groups to customize Rosetta Stone software for exclusive use in language revitalization. Each revitalization project builds on the company’s mission to help people improve their lives and make the world a better place by delivering the best technology-based solutions for learning languages. A natural choice for language revitalization programs, Rosetta Stone helps learners develop everyday proficiency the same natural way people everywhere learn their first languages, by directly associating new words and structures with real-life meaning. This approach allows Rosetta Stone to customize the context of meaning for endangered languages. Languages selected for software preservation – including Mohawk (Kanien’keha), the coastal dialect of Inupiaq in Alaska, Inuttitut in Labrador, Canada, North Slope Inupiaq and Navajo – are produced by Rosetta Stone and are distributed exclusively by the sponsoring group. The company offers a subsidized development program for tribes and organizations to finance language revitalization projects. For more information, visit RosettaStone.com/global/endangered.

About Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Inc. is changing the way the world learns languages. Rosetta Stone provides interactive solutions that are acclaimed for their speed and their power to unlock the natural language-learning ability in everyone. Available in more than 30 languages, Rosetta Stone language-learning solutions are used by schools, organizations and millions of individuals in over 150 countries throughout the world. The company was founded in 1992 on the core beliefs that learning a language should be natural and instinctive and that interactive technology can replicate and activate the immersion method powerfully for learners of any age. The company is based in Arlington, Va. For more information, visit RosettaStone.com.


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