Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute created two apps to help students learn the Tlingit language. This image, from the Tlingit Language Games app, shows a game to learn the names of birds.

Sealaska Heritage Institute Releases Tlingit Language and Games Apps


Learning Tlingit just got a little bit easier—Sealaska Heritage Institute recently released a Tlingit Learning app and a Tlingit Language Games app, both available on iPhone and Android devices.

The language app includes 300 Tlingit words, phrases, and sounds, and the games app teaches Tlingit words for ocean animals and birds through interactive games, said SHI President Rosita Worl in a press release. The language app has the alphabet, vocabulary, and phrases. The games app allows users to touch different birds and ocean creatures to hear the names of them pronounced in Tlingit.

The games app teaches ocean animals indigenous to the region. (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)

“We know our students are learning our Native languages in new ways, and technology plays a big role in that. This is our effort to help learners revitalize Tlingit by learning the language through their mobile devices,” Worl said in the release. She also noted that the institute would continue adding updates with new content, like podcasts on the language app.

The vocabulary section in the language app has 17 categories including animals, fish, food, geography, clothing, and plants. As users click through each category, a list of words pops up so students can learn the Tlingit spellings and hear the words spoken in Tlingit. The phrases section has categories like coming and going and feelings. The app also has a searchable index.

The vocabulary section in the language app has 17 categories including animals, fish, food, geography, clothing, and plants. (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)

The app features audio recorded by fluent speakers, Tlingit language learners, and linguists.

The games app teaches words for birds commonly seen in Southeast Alaska and ocean animals indigenous to the region. As the creatures move around the screen, users tap on them to hear the Tlingit word, and can then be quizzed on them.

“We’ve released these games and other interactive tools for desktop users in the past and teachers have told us that when we offered a game that did not have a quiz, students—even young children—would complain about the absence of a test,” Worl said in the release. “This is the magical thing about these interactive games. Students have fun learning, they retain the information and score highly on the tests—so they want to take the quizzes.”

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