Okanagan First Nations celebrate language milestone
By Steve Arstad
The Syilx Language House recently completed 200 hours of Nsyilxcn language immersion. Shown above in this contributed photo are the teachers and graduates of the program.
Image Credit: Contributed
February 18, 2016 - 1:00 PM
PENTICTON - Members of the Okanagan First Nation marked a milestone as the work continue to restore their traditional language.
Fifteen students and their teachers have celebrated the completion of 200 hours of Syilx immersion over the last four months, according to a media release.
Syilx Language House Association manager Jennifer Vincent says the students gained enough fluency in the language to make five minute presentations to a number of supporters, elders and family members present at a recent celebration.
In the next four years the students plan to complete 2,000 hours of study to achieve mid-intermediate speaker status.
The Syilx language is considered critically endangered, with fewer than 100 speakers.
Vincent says the program is following an intensive schedule in order to ensure the last generation of fluent elders are still here to speak to with the students. There has not been a new fluent speaker of the language in over 60 years.
Lead teacher Michele Johnson says the language program “is hard work, and it’s working."
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