The Restoration of a Language

Language is an important aspect of any oral cultures. Linda had an emotional fluctuation in her tone while disclosing her struggles with speaking her language. My grandfather and his two brothers turned their backs on the language because of the same struggle in boarding schools. Her story played my heartstrings like a harp as I realize how close her story is to mine. Her children have been learning the language and how to speak it over time.

From her story, I am more inspired to continue learning my native language so I can pass it on to my children. I do not hold any ill will for those that attended schools and had their native language quarantined. I only strengthen my resolve to continue pressing forward to learn my own culture and to eventually teach it inside of a classroom.

On a side note, I enjoyed how each speaker took time to speak in Tlingit before translating to English. I would like to do that inside of a classroom one day as well as willing to hear any that can speak “their” language. I just feel that there is a natural beauty in languages that I can’t completely comprehend. I realized that when I don’t know the language that is being spoken, I tend to pay closer attention and listen to the words that are going into my ears. I am beyond thankful that these three elders were willing to share their stories and their time. They each provided different ideas for me to think over.

2 thoughts on “The Restoration of a Language”

  1. Mason,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can only image how that must feel. The language is so important for your cultural identity and defines you as an individual. I remember my grandmother telling me about a similar period in Romanian history when she was forbidden to speak her language. I know you’ll find a way to discover your lost language, and like you said it will be amazing for you to share it in the classroom.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Mason.
    Linda and Selina’s words were very triggering for me as well, as I experience assimilation and the slow degradation of my knowledge of Korean. I really like how you put into feelings how deep language really is. Language for me is not just about the words, but also the intonation, the rhythm, the symbols, etc… which is why it is more difficult for people to understand a language different from one’s own.

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