Tłı̨chǫ and Collège Nordique sign language course deal
The Tłı̨chǫ Government and Collège Nordique have signed an agreement that supports the college’s growing Tłı̨chǫ-language classes.
Tłı̨chǫ language lessons at the college’s Yellowknife office had more than 100 students last fall and a new textbook just launched. Census data suggests Tłı̨chǫ has the most young speakers of the NWT’s nine official Indigenous languages.
According to a Tłı̨chǫ Government press release, the new agreement will “continue to cover the costs of Tłı̨chǫ language courses for members of the Indigenous community and train another Tłı̨chǫ instructor.”
“The training of this instructor, who will then be able to teach Tłı̨chǫ in the communities, represents one more step forward for the Tłı̨chǫ Government and Collège Nordique in their efforts to revitalize the language,” the press release continued.
There are just over 2,000 people in the territory who report being able to speak Tłı̨chǫ. Of those, the NWT Bureau of Statistics reported, more than half were aged 44 or younger. The bureau stated Tłı̨chǫ is an exception among Indigenous languages in the NWT, most of which are predominantly spoken by older people.
Almost 600 people aged 24 or younger told the census they can speak some Tłı̨chǫ. Only two other Indigenous languages in the territory reported having even 100 speakers in that age group.
Georgina Franki, who currently teaches Tłı̨chǫ at Collège Nordique, was quoted as saying: “In our classes, we hear the beautiful, unique accents from the communities, like Behchokǫ̀, Gamètì, Wekweètì and Whatì, and Ndıłǫ and Dettah.
“When I hear a different way of saying something, I don’t say that it’s wrong. I get excited. That’s the richness and the celebration that we want to bring to the people.”
Tyanna Steinwand, the Tłı̨chǫ Government’s research operations manager, said: “I’m hoping that if people see the Tłı̨chǫ Government and Collège Nordique working together, more people will be encouraged to sign up.”