Blackfoot : Learn to be fluent in this endangered language

The Blackfoot language has been in danger of extinction for nearly a century. To prevent this from happening, various measures have been put in place. One of these measures includes the establishment of Real Speak School in western Montana where kids are taught in Blackfoot from first grade to eight grade. This has resulted in kids who can fluently speak the language. Generally, only a few Blackfoot under the age of 40 can speak the language fluently. Blackfoot is also known as Blackfeet, Siksika and Pikanii. It is spoken by native Americans of the Blackfoot tribes, who live in the northwest plains of North America. The language has 4 dialects, based on the geographical location of the speakers. These are Ammskaapipiikani, Siksika, Apatohsihpiikani and Kainai. Old/High Blackfoot is the dialect spoken by many older speakers, while New/Modern Blackfoot is spoken by most younger speakers. Blackfoot is spoken by 8000 people in northern Montana and southern Alberta, Canada.

Due to the fact that the structure of the Blackfoot language is different from English, it is hard to translate Blackfoot words to English. The writing system used in Alberta was approved by the education committee as the official writing system. It is now used in general grammar and in the Blackfoot dictionary. The writing system is based on the analysis of the sound system used in Blackfoot. Early attempts by missionaries, explorers and traders to put down Blackfoot in writing in English and French were not successful. This was because the two languages could not produce the distinctions that were present in Blackfoot but not in French or English.

There are many reasons that have led to the endangerment of the Blackfoot language. The primary reason being the negative attitude towards the language. Being a minority language, most children were discouraged from speaking the language when they were in school or public places, preferring instead to speak English, which was more common. There are some radio stations that broadcast in Blackfoot. This includes a radio station in Browning, Montana that broadcasts a one hour show for learners who are interested in mastering the language.

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