Native American Terminology Development

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Conference Program
Indigenous Language Institute Symposium Series

October 11–12, 2010

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (formerly Isleta Casino & Resort), Albuquerque, NM

Our two-day conference convened community language experts, linguists, translators, tribal policy makers, and IT terminologists with the goal of sharing information and experience in terminology development and management and introduced conference participants to important skills, existing tools and concepts for technology and techniques for developing useful and comprehensible terminology for their languages.

The presentations addressed the following topics:

  1. Developing New Terminology: project organization and logistics, lexicon creation, database management, dialect variation and standardization of terminology
  2. Native Language in Information Technology: software internationalization, locale support, community- business relationship and communications integrating existing tribal infrastructure systems
  3. Community Adaptation of Technology: Tools to support a language immersion environment: bilingual and immersion classrooms, tribal government, localized software, social networking spaces, private business, local and global adaptation and usage of new terminology


You may read about our presenters and download their presentations below. Acrobat Reader is required to view the presentations. If you do not have Acrobat Reader installed, you may do so from here.

Akira Yamamoto

Akira Y. Yamamoto, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Kansas, has been active in bringing together the language communities and professional communities for an effective and long-lasting language and culture revitalization programs. He works closely with the Indigenous Language Institute (ILI), Oklahoma Native Language Association (ONLA), and the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI). He is a member of language teams of various Native American communities that have been engaged in projects such as documentation, language teacher training, and development of language programs such as language immersion centers. He chaired the Linguistic Society of America’s (LSA) Committee on Endangered Languages and Their preservation, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA), and co-chairs UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages. E-mail:

Title: Wonderful World of Our Languages “Creating in Language”

In this session, we will explore how each language may form new words and new expressions. We begin with an exploration of the magic of languages by examining how language users create words for new cultural items. When new cultural items come into a language community, it can approach new items in different ways: the community may reject them; it may borrow terms from the donor language; the community may apply existing terms to the new items, or it may create new terms. For example, we will see, in Kiikaapoatowaachiki spoken in Oklahoma, how speakers differentiate the universe into two parts through their language in a wonderful and effective way and how they incorporate new items into their view of the universe. Formation of new terms shows us the magical capacity of language and the infinite, creative mind of language users.

Size: 1.1 mb


Anton Treuer

Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. He has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. His published books include Ojibwe in Minnesota (2010), The Assassination of Hole in the Day (forthcoming in 2010), Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo’amaageng (forthcoming in 2010), Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories (2001), Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project (2009), and Omaa Akiing (2002). Dr. Treuer has sat on many organizational boards, ranging from the White Earth Land Recovery Project to MeritCare Health System. Dr. Treuer has received prestigious awards and fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the Experienced Faculty Development Program, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the Grotto Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Title: Anishinaabemowin Mashkawendamang

Ojibwe language speakers, teachers, and linguists have been working very hard to develop new materials for preservation and revitalization of the tribal language. In this presentation, Dr. Anton Treuer will detail several new and innovative initiatives that have enabled dramatic breakthroughs in Ojibwe by working across dialects, incorporating new technologies, developing new terminology, and making it all readily available for teachers, students, and advocates of the language. He will demonstrate a step-by-step practical guide for development of resources in their own tribal languages.

Size: 34.1 mb


Kara Warburton

Kara Warburton has a Masters degree in Terminology Management and over 10 years experience in the field in various capacities. She developed and led the terminology management program for IBM, which became a recognized industry model. She led the development of a terminology database for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and she is also the chair of the ISO committee that defines global standards for terminology management. Kara teaches terminology management at York University and has given professional workshops for the Localization Industry Standards Association that were attended by new terminologists from over 70 companies. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Terminology Management at Hong Kong City University.

Title: Terminology 101

The basic principles and methods of terminology management with a focus on the challenges and needs of minority languages. Topics include: analyzing concepts, creating new terms, documenting terms, assessing and managing synonyms, disseminating terminology to the community, developing a terminology database, and using other tools.

Size: 200 kb


Keola Donaghy

Keola Donaghy is Assistant Professor of Hawaiian Studies at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. For the past 20 years he has been involved in nearly every initiative that has strengthened the ability of Hawaiian speakers to use technology through the Hawaiian language, including the development of Leokī, a telecommunications system completely implemented in Hawaiian, collaborations with Apple to build native Hawaiian support into the Macintosh and iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) operating systems, and translation of the Google search engine interface into Hawaiian. He also designed and implemented the first online and asynchronous Hawaiian language classes under the College of Hawaiian Language, that continue to be taught under the auspice of the ʻAha Pūnana Leo, Inc. He is also an award-winner composer of Hawaiian music, and a member of the board of governors of the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts. His compositions have been recorded by such notable artists as Keali‘i Reichel, Kainani Kahaunaele, Kenneth Makuakāne, Mailani Makainai and the De Lima ‘Ohana.

Title: Ka Haku Hua‘ōlelo ‘Enehana: Lexicon Creation, Implementation and Issues For Technology Use in the Hawaiian Language

For the past twenty-five years advocates of the Hawaiian language face many challenges in their efforts to revitalize and reestablish Hawaiian as a language of the home, school, and community. With the increasing emphasis of technology in the school, business and home, the creation and implementation of new lexicon to address the use of technology has been a priority. The Hale Kuamo‘o at ‘Aha Pūnana Leo’s have lead the development of new lexicon and tools for Hawaiian speakers, and their joint publication of, Māmaka Kaiao‛, a new Hawaiian language lexicon, has been indispensible in these efforts. He will provide some background into the formation and operation of the kōmike huaʻōlelo (The Hawaiian Lexicon Committee), how they create new lexicon, the issues that they face in implementing new words, and how they are used in daily use of technology through localized applications, both binary and web-based.

Size: 1.5 mb


Kevin Scannell

Kevin Scannell is Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Saint Louis University, Missouri, USA, where he has taught since 1998. He has been developing software to benefit Irish speakers for more than a decade, including a spell checker, grammar checker, search engine, and an electronic thesaurus. He also leads the Irish translation teams for most of the prominent open source software projects, including and Mozilla Firefox. An advocate for minority and endangered languages worldwide, he has collaborated with more than 30 language groups to create freely available and reusable language resources.

Title: Turning the Tide: Terminology Creation and Free Software in Irish

There are about 20,000 native speakers of Irish, most of whom live in scattered communities on Ireland's west coast. Like many minority and indigenous languages around the world, Irish is under immense pressure from English, especially so in the domains of computing and technology.
Over the past ten years, however, a group of dedicated volunteers has produced a number of powerful software tools that allow Irish speakers to conduct their online lives almost entirely in their native language: spelling and grammar checkers, online dictionaries and thesauri, and software translations. We are fast approaching our goal of a 100% translated desktop system.
In my lecture I will describe: (1) how we manage a large, purely-volunteer translation project with no funding, (2) our approach to terminology creation, (3) a philosophy of community ownership of developed resources, based on free and open source software, (4) several initiatives we've begun to share tools and data with minority and indigenous languages around the world.

Size: 1.7 mb


Manuela Noske

Manuela Noske has a Masters degree in African languages and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. She has over 10 years of experience working on the development of proofing tools and in localization at Microsoft Corporation. For the last 5 years her focus has been on developing Language Interface Packs for a variety of languages, including Vietnamese, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Assamese and 10 African languages. Working only with small vendors in the different regions she has first-hand experience in working with communities as well as managing the terminology for these projects.

Title: Creating Terminology for Emerging Languages

For the past five years Microsoft has worked with language authorities and communities in different countries world-wide to create terminology for its Windows desktop system and the Office suite. This presentation describes the process that was used to create new terms, the challenges that were encountered and how they were overcome. It also discusses the pros and cons of using community involvement in the process. The presentation will present several examples of what to do and what to avoid in terminology development. It also demonstrates how terminology is used in a product and how its quality can affect the ability of a user/reader to understand a text.

Size: 4.3 mb


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