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Tahltan Language

This online program is learner driven and designed as a simple approach to learning and using the Tałtan language in the home and community. It is designed to teach the student the individual sounds, articulations and syllables that make up words, while at the same time teach them basic communications that goes with everyday activities.

This program, which includes a reference audio component, is designed to have child, parent(s) and instructor(s) participate in an important cultural learning experience in our education system and community(s). This program can be sub-divided into two parts:

  1. Thaltan Orthopgraphu (wrriting system) and
  2. communication.

It is formatted to begin the learning process by first becoming familiar with the Na-Dene language, then the Tałtan Phonetical Writing System, and finally focusing on the day-to-day communication whereas the student(s) will begin learning basic communication.

With this system the first lesson would be to learn the Tahltan Orthography (writing system) by studying the Tałtan Phonetic Alphabet. The next lessons would take you directly into the communication process with basic everyday repetitive conversational words, phrases and sentences.

This practical program is all about 'speaking the language'.

It is not an accredited course. It is not about learning verbs and adjectives etc. It is strictly designed to have the participant begin communicating in Tałtan as soon as she/he learns to read and write!

With this approach the participant(s) would begin the communication process by learning the first words, phrases and sentences that coincide with awakening in the morning. The first lesson of 'Day One' would have the student learn the question "How did you sleep?" and this would continue so on and so forth sequentially throughout their day until bedtime.

To keep track of the participants’ progress the day would be subdivided into 'morning, afternoon, and evening'. By the time a student reaches 'noon eating lesson' s
/he could apply the sentences learned from breakfast to the lunch activities etc. and the communication of the participants would increase merely by the dictation of the daily habitual activity we partake in on a regular basis.

It is easy to get intimidated by the vast array of information of a second language therefore the lessons are kept short and simple so as not to overwhelm the participants with too much information at once and the goals are made easily attainable.

By participating in this program you will be involved in the most important cultural activity of our brief colonial history! You will be involved in the revitalization of our precious language.

Our language is endangered! There are now less than twenty (20) native speakers of the Tałtan language remaining in the communities of Telegraph, Dease and Iskut, British Columbia, when they are gone, our language will be gone with them if we don't do our best to revitalize it.

Language is CULTURE! Without our language we are merely colonial subjects speaking the colonial language of our oppressor!


Language Learning Process
Learning to speak a second language is a step-by-step process and goes as follows:

1. Learn to pronounce the individual articulations (sounds) of the language and the proper symbols that represent them in  the writing system.

2. Learn to combine the individual sounds to create syllables (This requires a physiological adaptation - rewiring of the speech area of the brain).

3. Learn to combine the newly learned syllables to form new words and verb-phrases.

4. Learn to combine the new words and verb-phrases to create sentences.

5. Learn to combine sentences to communicate concepts.

This chronological sequence is not as readily defined as it may appear and there are overlaps in the process. Say for instance; while learning the individual sound you will be learning words and phrases and while learning syllables you will be also learning new words and creating new phrases and sentences etc.

Speech Area Of The Human Brain
Speech Area Of The Human Brain
Learning language is a natural process for a child, but learning to speak a second language after puberty and as an adult is a learning adaptation that requires the physiological rewiring of specific areas of the brain. Language is very complicated and it involves everything from hand and body gestures to facial expressions, but the aspects mostly involved are the Speech production and word recognition (Brokers) areas of the brain, which is the area marked here in red. ( It is these particular areas that we need to rewire in the process of learning to speak Tałtan as a second language. It must be noted that these areas develop independently of each other and an individual can lag behind in one area depending on the speech environment. That is why you can sometimes here a person say; "I can understand it, but I can't speak the language". What they are actually making reference to, on a cognitive level, is that they have one area (speech production) under-developed and the other area (word recognition) over-developed in comparison. Therefore, it is very important that we develop these areas simultaneously. We can do this by learning the language with a partner so we can practice 'speaking it' and 'hearing it' simultaneously. 
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How To Use The Program

  • Main Text: The main texts is formatted to be read from lesson to lesson sequentially, however if you want to, the design of the program allows to easily find the topic you are looking for by using the 'red lessons tabs' in the left side menu.
  • Audio Reference: Each symbol of the Tahltan alphabet, Tahltan word and phrases has an audio example to demonstrate the correct Tahltan pronounciation. Simply click the the 'text', or the 'audio icon' beside the Tahltan text and you will hear the correct pronunciation. Example: Dude ant'ē (How Are You feeling?).
  • Video Reference: Video of various topics is also made available for your learning experience. Simply click the embedded video clips in the side menu and it will play. The videos are embedded only on certian pages.
  • You can also join 'Tahltan Language Collective' on Facebook and post questions and comments regarding the content of your study.
  • Tips: Whenever I thought of something useful that pertains to a task I turned it into a tip. Tips relate to the topic in the nearby text and are extra helpful information. Tips are placed in the shaded boxes as way of distinguishing them from the main topic, or task.

Tałtan Language Program
Tahltan Central Government
PO Box 69
Tatl’ah (Dease), BC VOC 1L0
Phone: (250) 771-32274

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