Lakota Language Consortium updates dictionary

Thousands of new undocumented entries are in the 3rd edition

Kayla Henderson | KEVN | December 15, 2022

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – The Lakota Language Consortium has launched their 3rd edition of the Lakota language dictionary with 21,000 more undocumented entries compared to the first edition.

“In the 1800s, it began to be written down, but in recent years the number of our speakers has been declining; the language haven’t been passed on to many of our younger people in most of our families and our households,” said Deputy Director Alex Fire Thunder of Lakota Language Consortium.

In the U.S., English is the standard language, and as times go on, some native languages are disappearing.

“A lot of the kids are coming to schools basically as English as their first language. Language haven’t been spoken in most homes since the 1950s. And of course, you know Lakota language; you know it embeds the culture. It has all of the songs, prayers, and stories, so when you’re learning language, you’re also learning culture,” said Executive Director Wil Meya of Lakota Language Consortium.

Fire Thunder says Lakota Language was embedded in his family lineage, and he wanted to learn and study the language ten years ago to continue the tradition.

“I raise my sons as first language speakers too. The youngest is not speaking yet, but he understands Lakota, and one of the most heart warming thing for me is to see my son being able to speak with his grandma in both of their first language being Lakota,”said Fire Thunder.

Not only does the LLC have a physical copy of the 3rd edition dictionary, but an App that can help translate English to Lakota.

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