An Ojibway language teacher and author is hoping that anyone who can speak an Indigenous language can use her new book to teach others.
“It could be used by any group at all — Ojibway, Cree, Dene, Inuktitut — it’ll be applicable to any language in the world,” said Patricia Ningewance.
Ningewance is from Lac Seul First Nation in northern Ontario and her new book is titled Reclaiming Our Territory, Word By Word: Grassroots Language Teaching.
The book is meant to help guide fluent speakers, who may not be trained teachers, in how to pass on their language skills on in their families and the community.
The book is written in English and lays out 63 lessons that are structured around everyday, practical conversations like ‘Where do you live?’ ‘Where did you go?’ ‘Who do you love?’
With the book, Ningewance is hoping that speakers looking to teach others informally won’t worry about whether they can read or write their language, or can explain the grammar. She just wants people to begin to speak the language with others.
Inside her new book, Ningewance writes “we fluent speakers will be gone in 20 years or less so we must teach the language to the next generation.”
Becoming a student again
It’s been over 30 years since Ningewance released her first book: Survival Ojibwe: Learning Conversational Ojibwe in Thirty Lessons.
For years, she has taught beginner/introductory, intermediate and advanced Ojibway courses at the university level and is constantly thinking about better ways to teach the language.
Read more: CBC