Rosetta Stone(R) Releases Interactive Mohawk Language Software

A Mohawk Community and Rosetta Stone Have Developed First-Ever Mohawk

Immersion Software Through Rosetta Stone's Endangered Language Program

Apr 20, 2006, 01:00 ET from Rosetta Stone(R)

    HARRISONBURG, Va., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Rosetta Stone(R) has just
 released language-learning software for the Mohawk (Kanien'keha) language.
 Development of the software was sponsored by Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na
 Raotitiohkwa (the recognized Mohawk language and cultural center of
 Kahnawake) as part of a wider initiative to recover Kanien'keha fluency in
 the Mohawk community located near Montreal, Quebec. This is the first
 endangered language software to be developed through Rosetta Stone, which
 currently teaches 30 other languages to people in over 150 countries.
     Kanien'keha is the language spoken by the Kanien'kehaka (People of the
 Flint) nation. It is one of many Indigenous languages throughout the world
 that are in danger of becoming extinct. Five hundred years ago, an
 estimated 300 languages were spoken across North America. Today, however,
 only about 25 are now spoken by children, an indication that 150 languages
 are poised to disappear with their generation of speakers.
     "We believe the best way to preserve a language is through teaching and
 learning, keeping it a living language in the hands of the people to whom
 it belongs," says Ilse Ackerman, manager of the Endangered Language Program
 at Rosetta Stone. "Technology can help with this task. Interactive language
 software is a great resource to support community language initiatives. It
 provides learners unlimited exposure to fluent speech, patient and tireless
 feedback, and an individually tailored learning pace."
     A Language Nearly Lost
     Between 1892 and 1969, thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada,
 including many Kanien'kehaka children, were not allowed to speak their
 native language. As part of Canada's government policies, Aboriginal
 children were forced to attend residential schools where only English was
 allowed. The schools ranged from small day schools on and off reservations,
 to larger industrial and boarding schools in distant towns and cities. Many
 children attended the schools for a short time, while others were enrolled
 for their entire schooling, according to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
     The residential schooling program had an adverse impact on the
 Indigenous peoples who wished to retain their native language and culture,
 according to Dr. Donna Kaherakwas Goodleaf, executive director of
 Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa. "Language is in our DNA. It is who
 we are. As a way to revitalize the Kanien'keha language, immersion schools
 were established in our community in the 1970s to help our children learn
 their language," says Goodleaf. "Presently, these children have grown up
 and are young parents themselves, and are eager to learn their language so
 that they may pass it on to their children as well. In response to the
 needs and demands of the community, Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa
 offers various Kanien'keha language courses and produces two television
 shows that are aired in the Kanien'keha language on Kahnawake's local cable
 television network. As well, the cultural center offers a nine-month
 intensive adult Kanien'keha language immersion program called the
 Kanien'keha Ratiwennahni:rats Adult Immersion Program. This program has
 successfully graduated over 50 students since 2004." Kanien'kehaka
 Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa has recently created a computer lab facility to
 host the Rosetta Stone language-learning software program for the
     Currently about 10 percent of the 8,000 residents in the community of
 Kahnawake are fluent in the Mohawk language. Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na
 Raotitiohkwa is working to expand this number through its comprehensive
 community-wide language-learning initiative. As part of the initiative,
 Rosetta Stone software will be made available in computer labs, homes and
 workplaces to supplement a variety of other elements that are already in
 place including adult language enrichment classes, language immersion
 "nests" for preschool-age children and a cable access program for family
 members of all ages. The Mohawk language program will also be available for
 purchase through Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa. For more
 information, e-mail or call (450) 638-0880.
     Rosetta Stone: A Natural Choice
     Rosetta Stone is a natural choice for many language revitalization
 programs because it helps users develop everyday proficiency naturally, the
 same way people learn their first language -- by associating new words with
 real-life meaning. Rosetta Stone's Dynamic Immersion(TM) method uses
 thousands of real-life color images to convey the meaning of the spoken and
 written phrases in the program. Its carefully sequenced structure, use of
 native speakers and ability to provide instantaneous feedback teaches new
 language without memorization, translation or grammar drills. In the
 program, Kanien'keha words are never equated to English words, ensuring
 that words don't lose the many aspects of their meaning in the teaching
     To create the Kanien'keha software, a team of Rosetta Stone language
 software experts worked with Kahnawake community leaders and language
 experts. The local experts provided linguistic expertise and Rosetta Stone
 software developers provided technical expertise. Recording and photography
 were done in cooperation with Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa.
 Community members provided the voices in the software, enabling language
 learners to hear the sounds of their language spoken by people they know.
 Photographs of familiar places and faces from the Kahnawake Mohawk
 community were incorporated into the language lessons to make the content
 as culturally relevant as possible to daily life.
     The Kanien'keha language software was produced through Rosetta Stone's
 Endangered Language Program, which was created to undertake a limited
 number of language revitalization projects at the request of sponsoring
 groups such as First Nations, corporations or schools. The software,
 produced by Rosetta Stone, is distributed exclusively by the sponsoring
 group; in this case, the Kahnawake Mohawk community near Montreal.
     "We're thrilled to be releasing the first software of the Endangered
 Language Program. It has been a privilege to work with Kahnawake, a
 community known for both its strong cultural identity and its forward
 thinking," says Ackerman. "We're now excited about seeing the software put
 to use in the community's education initiatives."
     About Rosetta Stone
     Rosetta Stone is a revolutionary CD-ROM and online language-learning
 program acclaimed for the speed, power and effectiveness of its Dynamic
 Immersion(TM) method. Teaching 30 languages to millions of people in over
 150 countries throughout the world, Rosetta Stone is the key to
 language-learning success. The company was founded in 1992 on two core
 beliefs: that the natural way people learn languages as children remains
 the most successful method for learning new languages; and that interactive
 technology can replicate and activate that immersion method powerfully for
 learners of any age. The company is based in Harrisonburg, Va. For more
 information, visit .
     Rosetta Stone and Dynamic Immersion are trademarks of Rosetta Stone.
     For More Information:
     Grete Krohn                 Dr. Donna Kaherakwas Goodleaf
     Carmichael Lynch Spong      Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa
     (612) 375-8535              (450) 638-0880 
     Denise Dixon
     Carmichael Lynch Spong
     (612) 375-8523

SOURCE Rosetta Stone(R)