Dictionary app makes Lakota language accessible

Wilson described the app, the New Lakota Dictionary, as a gift from the elders.

Miranda O’Bryan | KEVN | November 1, 2020

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – Learning a language can be difficult, especially when that language is fading away. But with new apps and resources, the Lakota language is seeing more and more learners.

Allen Wilson, the Todd County School District Lakota language, culture, and outreach coordinator, teaches both staff, students, and community members Lakota and continues to learn the language himself. Five years ago, he said only 2,000 of the 176,000 enrolled tribal members on South Dakota’s nine reservations were fluent in the language. And most were in their mid-sixties.

Lakota language is fading, but Wilson said new resources and technology provide people with the information they need to revitalize the language.

“There’s no excuse,” said Wilson. “People need to learn Lakota, and there’s no excuse now. There’s a plethora of resources we can all utilize and practice and 20, 30 years ago, we had a lot more fluent speakers than we do now, and it wasn’t as dark as it seems now.”

Wilson described one app, the New Lakota Dictionary, as a gift from the elders. It provides a vast word database and sentences and pronunciation to help better learn the language.

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