Ojibway language tutor? There's an app for that

An app for smartphones and tablets is breathing new life into aboriginal languages.
An app for smartphones and tablets is breathing new life into aboriginal languages. Ryan Hicks reports. 2:25

An app for smartphones and tablets is breathing new life into aboriginal languages.

“It helps them …how to say the words through the audio,” said Darrick Baxter, president, Ogiki Learning Systems, which is based in Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, located 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

He created the app so his daughter could learn OjibwayIt worked so well he put it up on iTunes for free so others could do the same.

Darrick Baxter's free app for smartphones and tablets, which teaches people how to pronounce the Ojibway language, has been a huge success.

That was about a year and a half ago. Since then, it has been downloaded more than 20,000 times.

Baxter's company now gets calls and emails from around the world from aboriginal communities wanting to use the app for their languages. Baxter said he plans to release a Cree version soon.

University of Winnipeg professor Lorena Fontaine said Baxter's app is just one example of how people are trying to bring back the languages of their ancestors.

But she says the federal government needs to step up as well.

“There needs to be constitutional recognition that aboriginal language rights exist and that there's guaranteed funding by the federal government to help revitalize aboriginal languages,” she said.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.