How these Grade 9 students are promoting the Mi’kmaw language, 1 word at a time

A Grade 9 class in Cape Breton is helping preserve the Mi’kmaw language — one word at a time.

Mary Prosper, a Mi’kmaw language teacher, said she wanted to do something to promote the language, after she attended a celebration this winter to mark the international year of Indigenous language.

Mary Prosper is a Mikmaq Language teacher at Dalbrae Academy. (Facebook)

She took the challenge to her Mi’kmaw language class at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou, N.S.

Of the five students in the class, all Mi’kmaq, only one is a fluent speaker.

Prosper asked them to think of ways they might encourage people to “speak our language, bring it back”.

That’s when the class came up with the idea of posting a word each day to Twitter, complete with meaning and pronunciation.

Since the project began at the end of January, the class has posted dozens of words.

Prosper said they try to choose words that are linked in some way with the calendar.So, the word for February 14 was “kesalul,” which means “I love you.”

River Googoo is a Grade 9 student at Dalbrae Academy. (Submitted by Mary Prosper)

One wintry day, the word was “pesaq,” which means “snowing.”

River Googoo, one of the Grade 9 students, said she’s learning new words that she can use at home. 

“My parents speak fluently to me and learning these helps me understand them a lot better.”

Prosper said the project has generated a lot of feedback, and she’s even received audio clips from people trying to say the words.

She’s also been contacted by other schools that want to share the daily posts.

“I’ve never heard so many people talk about our language since we started the word of the day,” said Prosper.

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