Linnae Leading a Game

Aang, Linnae Kozloff asax̂takuqing. I am from Saint Paul Island, Alaska. I happen to go to Saint Paul school.  I am interested in the Unangam Tunuu language project because I am willing to help keep my language alive because unfortunately it is going extinct. I have been involved with this language project for about three or four years now and I really enjoy it.

This summer we had our first Summer Language Intensive. This intensive was the very first to happen in the Unangan Nation! The number of participants we had this summer was about sixteen total, but we had seven participants from Saint Paul. Most of the participants we had stayed for about two weeks, which kind of made things somewhat difficult. It was great to have them come but it got a tad bit hard to schedule them into activities. We had five WAYK participants that stayed through the whole summer: Robyn Giffen, Casey Boyette, Sky Hopinka, Evan Gardner and Susanna Ciotti.  The participants from Saint Paul were Teresa Baker, Anna Melovidov, Kiana Melovidov, Sonia Merculief, Aquilina Lestenkof and myself (Linnae Kozloff).

My involvement this summer was a ton of fun, I got to work with new people and also teach people what I have been learning. One activity I really enjoyed was learning a lot of Aleut and always being able to work with elders. A time I felt proud was when one day I was scribing during a hunt and was able to write what everyone was saying without them having to keep on repeating themselves. Of course my spelling wasn’t right, but they could get what I was talking about when they were reading my notes. The alphabet is pretty weird; once it comes to the alphabet it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to understand but once you get more fluent and are writing and typing the language then you will get it a little easier. I am making progress in being able to figure out what I am saying in Aleut but translate it into English. Although I shouldn’t be doing that it helps me understand what we are talking about and it also helps me remember how I am supposed to answer or what the answer to the question is.

What I will remember about work this summer is how much closer I am getting to becoming a fluent Aleut speaker. It is very exciting to know. I am not halfway yet, but I am getting there since Aleut doesn’t take a couple weeks, it takes years to learn. I would have to say if I knew Yup’ik then learning this would be a lot easier but this is the first language I am learning and I am happy this is my very first language (besides English, of course!). I will hopefully be teaching some of what I am learning during the school year. I plan on staying involved in the language by teaching it and working more with elders.

Hopefully next summer we can have another Summer Language Intensive. I really enjoyed our very first language intensive and would love to do another one. If it happens again but not in Saint Paul I would go, but I wouldn’t stay the whole summer because I love summer in Saint Paul.

Post authored by Linnae.

Written by Evan Gardner