three children sitting outside together

Indigenous Child Language Research Center

Jun 5, 2023 | Campus Connections, Spring 2023

The University of New Mexico’s Department of Linguistics and Lobo Language Acquisition Lab, are launching the Indigenous Child Language Research Center with a $250,000 grant – a virtual center to document Indigenous language development with a strong focus on producing Navajo speakers in childhood, the most critical period of time for language acquisition.

“Children hold the future of their languages in their hands,” says Professor Melvatha Chee. “When children are no longer speaking their Indigenous languages, those languages will cease to thrive among speakers.”

While concentrating on following the progress of infants and children learning Navajo at the Saad K’idilyé Diné Language Nest, the center will serve as a research hub connecting its child language researchers with teachers, families and policymakers to learn how child language research can support and inform pedagogical approaches to reverse language loss in New Mexico.  

“Team members will also document and analyze language methodologies and developmental milestones for Indigenous communities, immersion schools, language nests and Indian Health Service pediatric care,” Chee said. They plan to disseminate recommendations for pedagogical approaches when caring for and raising children in the Navajo language.

Spring 2023 Mirage Magazine Features


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This