What is it about?

Many Indigenous languages are endangered, and language reclamation and revitalization are culturally important activities. But for AAC users, there are often many challenges to overcome to participate, including the availability of vocabularies and voices.

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Why is it important?

This project will develop new ways for people who speak other Native American languages to communicate. They will help provide examples of how to create and work with AAC and language learning, rather than working with users who already understand more than one language.


There are few language courses or schools that teach Indigenous languages in North America and those that do, usually do not focus on or accommodate learners with differences or complex communication needs. The multiple aspects of this project may lead to development of symbols, synthesized voices, and/or natural language processing algorithms that will make it possible for Indigenous people with communication disorders to learn and speak their language through augmentative and alternative communication systems.

Dr. Elizabeth K Hanson
University of South Dakota

My great-grandparents spoke Lakota, but were punished in school for speaking it, and tried to protect my grandmother by not allowing her to speak it. She is now in her 80s and regrets not learning to this day. I have always wanted to speak Lakota, and assumed that I would learn it and speak it with my children. It's more complicated for us, but still a manageable thing.

Janet Callahan
Lakȟótiyapi AAC

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Reconnecting Indigenous Language for a Child Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2022_lshss-22-00113.
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