February 20, 2008

Crash courses in Quileute

Non-Native teaching Quileute tongue-twisting languageHe hasn't tried to make his students fluent in Quileute.

"We don't know of a single child raised speaking English who has learned a native language in a classroom," Powell said, despite educators' spending $2 billion on such efforts.

"Fluency wasn't one of the alternatives. It just wasn't achievable."

Instead, at the invitation of the Quileute Tribal Council, Powell and Jensen devised a series of intensive courses, four to five weeks long, held twice a year over two years.

The Quileute reached the halfway point of the curriculum last month.

What is emerging is a language of English mingled with Quileute words and phrases—greetings, common comments and "useful terms of various kinds," Powell said.

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