Brand, Herbert, & Boechler (2016). Language Vitalization through Mobile and Online Technologies in British Columbia.

Brand, P., Herbert, T., & Boechler, S. (2016). Language Vitalization through Mobile and Online Technologies in British Columbia. In L. E. Dyson, S. Grant, & M. Hendriks (Eds.), Indigenous People and Mobile Technologies (pp. 265–273). New York: Routledge.

“The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) is a First Nations-run Crown Corporation established in 1990 with a mandate to support the vitalization of Aboriginal language, arts and culture in BC. The organization works with a community-based committee of cultural experts representing the 34 BC languages to develop strategies that meet the unique needs of communities at various stages in their language vitalization efforts.” (p 265)

“At its core, FirstVoices is an interactive multimedia dictionary and phrase collection containing thousands of text entries in many diverse Aboriginal writing systems, enhanced with sounds, pictures and videos. FirstVoices also offers tools for the recording of media-rich song and story collections. Some language archives at FirstVoices are publicly accessible, whereas others are password protected at the request of the language community.” (p 267)

“Watching pre-readers skillfully navigate the site to learn and practice their language skills instantly confirmed the success of yet another community-driven innovation at” (p 268)

“… whereas young people are comfortable using technology.” (p 268)

“Displaying First Nations language orthographies at FirstVoices and in related language documentation applications was one of the early challenges for the development team.” (p 269)

“… arrival of the Internet and Unicode technology …” (p 269)

“… Keyman, a keyboard remapping software developed by Tavultesoft …. Matching keyboards with identical keystrokes were simultaneously developed for Mac users.” (p 269)

“Unicode characters do not alphabetize in the same way Roman alphabets do. … The FirstVoices database then utilizes the numbers in the table to artificially ‘alphabetize’ the orthography.” (p 269)

“… Chris Harvey, the self-titled ‘language geek’ at” (p 269)

“… language literacy.” (p 270)

“A contract is then drafted to state that the language data is owned by the community, whereas rights to the technology are owned by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation.” (p 270)

[“FirstVoices and the Development of Mobile Technologies” (p 271) …]

“In 2007, the FirstVoices team partnered with Udutu Online Learning Solutions, a Victoria-based company specializing in e-learning software. In 2010, the FirstVoices Language Tutor was developed in response to requests from communities for an online language-learning tool.” (p 271)

“The FirstVoices Language Tutor provides First Nations students with access to graduated interactive web-based vocabulary and conversation building exercises. Using this app, users are able to listen to a word or phrase, record themselves speaking, and compare the result with a recording of a fluent speaker.” (p 271)

“The FirstVoices Language Lab is an iPad-based language-teaching laboratory designed to deliver Language Tutor lesson content via an app. The lab contains its own small laptop server, Wi-Fi antenna, power bars, portable case and a set of iPads. No Internet access is required, thus enabling remote First Nations communities access to lesson content.” (p 271)

“Whereas the mobile dictionary apps allow users to access language content from their mobile devices, the apps do not allow users to text in their Indigenous languages. In addition, the regular keypads on mobile devices were not capable of generating many of the special characters of Indigenous languages, making texting in these languages impossible for most First Nations people.” (p 272)

“… development of a keypad and chat app to allow users to compose and text using the unique characters of their Indigenous language. The FNTC agreed to fund the development, and in the spring of 2012, FirstVoices Chat was launched, allowing users to text using Facebook Chat and Google Talk.” (p 272)

“… FirstVoices Chat provides custom keypads capable of texting in more than 100 Indigenous languages in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.” (p 272)

“… require regular updating to keep abreast of new technological advances. Ongoing funding, innovative thinking and strong leadership are critically important to ensure that the priceless linguistic data collected at remains secure and accessible to language [page break] teachers and learners. Numerous First Nations have entrusted First Peoples’ Cultural Council with their language resources for safe-keeping and free, open access online and via mobile apps.” (p 272-273)

“… enduring partnerships between First Nations elders and technically savvy youth.” (p 273)

See this page at

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please disable your adblocker or whitelist this site!