Alutiiq Language On The Mend

Photo retrieved from April Laktonen Counceller

With fewer than 150 known fluent speakers, the Alutiiq language is just one of many indigenous languages worldwide that are in danger of extinction. However, with the concerted efforts from people like April Counceller, that won’t happen. Counceller is the language manager at the Alutiiq Museum and the director for a new Alutiiq studies program at the Kodiak College. Last week the museum was awarded a $40,000 grant to complete a book on the orthography of the Kodiak sub-dialect of the Alutiiq language, for which only 45 known fluent speakers remain. Counceller says the project comes at a key stage after many years of creating language materials and developing speakers.

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Jennifer Canfield is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

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