Reawakening the dormant Wendat language: CBC News

A group of linguistics experts are working to revitalize the language of the Wendat First Nations in Quebec. Assistant Professor Megan Lukaniec, from the Department of Linguistics, shares details about Project Yawenda with CBC News.

"There's a draw that we have because we know that there's something missing," Lukaniec says. 

"Even though we have no speakers today, there is still that emotional layer to what we do and the kind of healing that is coming out of this."

Lukaniec, who is also Wendat but grew up in Connecticut, said Project Yawenda's guaranteed funding helped create momentum to reconstruct the language using historical documentation from the 17th and 18th centuries written by Recollect and Jesuit missionaries in comparison to other Iroquoian languages like Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Oneida, and Onondaga. 

All of the content that was reconstructed was used for training language teachers and in 2010, language courses for adults were offered and curriculum was introduced to children at the local elementary school and daycare.

While dozens of community members have taken the courses in the last decade, Lukaniec said they don't consider themselves fluent speakers yet, even those teaching the language.

"We're all beginners but we have to start somewhere," said Lukaniec.

Read the full story in CBC News.