Now 70, Mr. Anthony has seen the number of speakers of his language decline over the course of his life. He said the language — once spoken throughout the traditional territory of the Oneidas, an area stretching from New York state to Wisconsin — is now on the verge of extinction.
Mr. Anton estimates that there are only about twenty people in the community Oneida River Thames Who can speak and understand. It is located near London, Ontario.
I am one of the few القل, did he say.
If we lose language now, we will lose another part of our culture.
According to Anton, the language preservation movement will take a major leap forward in September when, for the first time ever, Fanshawe College will offer a three-year diploma program dedicated to language learning and teaching.
authorized Oneida – immersion in language, culture and educationThe program will receive about twenty students who will learn the language. The goal of the program is to transform these students into teachers, translators and storytellers.
Mr. Anton has devoted a large part of his career to language teaching. According to him, this program will go beyond teaching the basics.
Blame the boarding schools?
Mary Joy Elijah is Oneida and is also aware of the danger of disappearance that threatens her parents’ language.
she is a manager مديرOneida Language and Culture Center, an organization that tries to preserve Oneida’s culture.
She believes that boarding schools are largely responsible for the decline in the language.
What we see today, this disappearance of language, is a duty [aux pensionnats], she explained.
Even my parents, who did not attend boarding schools, refused to give the language to their four children. They know what happens at school if you speak the language.
Mary Joy Elijah says her mother’s sisters attend boarding schools and often talk about abusing children caught speaking Oneida.
This whole generation of parents [celle des parents de Mme Elijah] Deliberately stop transmitting the language to us to avoid being beaten, killed or buried الas you say.
However, young people in society today are thirsty for knowledge, according to Marie Joy Elijah. They want to learn the language of their ancestors and get to know their culture better.
She explained that they even scolded their parents for not teaching them the language. So they had to tell the tragic stories of the boarding schools to explain the reasons why they gave up the language.
A language challenge?
Young mothers are already trying to pass on the language in their own way, according to Ms. Ilya:
Many of them have bilingual children because their parents speak to them.
However, memorizing the oneida language will not be without difficulty for learners.
Mr. Anthony explains that many Oneida sounds cannot be translated in the Latin alphabet. In its standardized written form, the language blends letters from the Latin alphabet and adds symbols for the consonants and vowels that characterize it.
It is one of the hardest languages to learn in the worldSays Mr. Anthony.
It will take a real commitment.
Mr. Anthony sees the college program as a way to prevent the language from disappearing completely. He explains that many people in his community are old people who learned the language at home like him.
He adds that the students who enroll in the course are not only indigenous.
They come from all walks of life, did he say.
According to Anton, talk of the course has spread to the point that it is receiving expressions of interest from as far away as Idaho.
The course will start in September.
With information from CBC News