Dictionary Apps for B.C. First Nations Languages Now Available on Android Devices

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Dictionary Apps for B.C. First Nations Languages Now Available on Android Devices

by pmnationtalk on November 13, 2017465 Views

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dictionary Apps for B.C. First Nations Languages Now Available on Android Devices

Brentwood Bay, B.C. – The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is excited to announce that its ground-breaking FirstVoices Dictionary Apps are now available for free download on all Android devices. The apps, which were initially launched in 2011, were previously available only on Apple iOS, due to the limited availability of First Nations language character sets in the Android operating system.

“For the past several years, we have been advocating with our contacts at Google to include the unique First Nations characters on Android devices,” said Tracey Herbert, CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “We commend Google for including support for these new characters in its operating system, and by extension – the work of Indigenous people who want to use their mobile devices as a language-learning tool.”

The 13 FirstVoices Dictionary Apps are available in the following B.C. First Nations languages: Ehattesaht, Halq’eméylem, Hlg̲aagilda X̲aayda Kil (Skidegate Haida), Ktunaxa, Kwak̓wala, Nazko-Dakelh, Nisg̲a’a, Northern St̕’át̕’imcets, Secwepemc, SENĆOŦEN, Sliammon, Líl̓wat-Ucwalmícwts and Xeni Gwet’in.

The apps were developed as a mobile version of the language archives available at FirstVoices.com, where First Nations communities can upload words and phrases in their languages. They were built using open-source software and are not only the largest collection of open-source Indigenous language apps in the world, but the first to be available for both iOS and Android.

Each dictionary app uses customized, language-specific, “approximate-search” algorithms, which improve accessibility for learners and experts alike. For example, in the Nisg̲a’a language, the word for ‘story/legend/history’ is written adaawak̲. The Nisg̲a’a search algorithm has been built to anticipate a search for a word that does not include the special character, so it will still return the result for ‘adaawak̲’ even if a user searches for ‘adawak’.

For all iOS and Android dictionary apps, users can now also sort words and phrases by categories, bookmark items for later viewing and use the app to make flashcards to support language learning.

The FirstVoices Dictionary Apps were funded by the New Relationship Trust.

To download the new apps visit: http://www.firstvoices.com/en/apps

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About the First Peoples’ Cultural Council:

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a First Nations run B.C. Crown corporation with a mandate to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts, cultures and heritage in B.C. FPCC provides funding and resources to communities, monitors the status of Indigenous languages and develops policy recommendations for First Nations leadership and government. FPCC has distributed more than $45 million to B.C. Indigenous communities and individuals since 1991. For more information, visit www.fpcc.ca.

About FirstVoices:

FirstVoices produces a suite of online Indigenous language archiving, learning and teaching tools and is managed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, which is based on the Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay, B.C. For more information, visit www.firstvoices.com.

Media Contact:

Megan Lappi
First Peoples’ Cultural Council
Tel. (250) 652-5952 ext. 214
[email protected]

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