How a high-tech military device is helping to preserve the tribal languages of American Indians.
Indian linguists say the gadget has gained popularity at a critical time, since most tribes have very few living members who know their native tongue. It is increasingly rare to find young Indians who communicate with their elders in the tribal language.
“There’s a huge trend in Indian Country to revive the languages,” Thornton says. “I think the feature of the Phraselator that really attracts tribes is that they can do it all themselves—and they retain all copyright of their materials. They don’t have to depend on outsiders.”