And now an Inupiaq language lesson.
Qaqasauraq. Noun. The modern Inupiaq term for a computer. Loosely translated, it means "little brain."
Ready to learn more? Fire up the qaqasauraq for the latest of three new computer programs designed to teach variations of the fading Alaska Native language.
The North Slope Borough and Rosetta Stone software company plan to unveil a program this spring specially designed to teach the North Slope Inupiaq dialect, using the photos and voices of Inupiaq people recorded in Barrow.
There are as few as 1,500 fluent speakers of Inupiaq in Alaska, estimates Fairbanks linguist Michael Krauss. Once, it was the primary language of the northern and northwest regions of the state.
Barrow-born Edna MacLean, a former Inupiaq professor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, spent two years working on the Inupiaq program. She translated thousands of words and phrases from English to the North Slope Inupiaq dialect of the Inuit language.
Linguist Edna MacLean, originally of Barrow, teaches the Inupiaq word for "computer."
The job is nearly done. Soon the program will be available to schools and households. Just in time for Inupiaq language experts like MacLean, 66.
"A lot of us speakers are getting older, but we sure would like our children and grandchildren to have access to something like this," she said.
Like many Alaska Natives who came of age in earlier generations, MacLean was punished in school for speaking her language, she said. "I yelled something in Inupiaq at the girl in front of me, and (my third-grade teacher) came over and pulled my ear."
Today the ability to speak indigenous languages is a prized skill.
To read the complete article, visit www.adn.com.