App Teaches Chickasaw Language

Sometimes apps are strictly meant to be fun, but that’s not the case with the Chickasaw Language Basic app, which is now available for free from iTunes for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This isn’t the type of app that’s all work and no play, however. I found it unique in that it uses puzzles and games to help the user learn Chickasaw, so learning never feels boring or redundant like apps that simply flash words and definitions at me repeatedly.

For readers who are unfamiliar, the Chickasaw Nation is a group of Native Americans residing mostly in Oklahoma. The Chickasaw language is part of the Muskogean language family, one of six native languages to share that classification. Now, this nation is connecting with others through technology like the language app, and some background information that’s also available in the app itself.

The Chickasaw language app breaks learning down into categories including:

·       Alphabet

·       Greetings

·       Essentials words and phrases

·       Forming Sentences

·       Daily Phrases

·       and more

I could easily look up a phrase that I might need during a typical conversation, which makes this as convenient as a tourist’s translation dictionary. The focus of the app is the words, which are large and clear to read. Navigating through the app is also easy thanks to the back button, which is in the top left corner of the app in every section. The app opens with the logo of the Chickasaw Nation and a link to the website. It’s rather minimal, and the design didn’t blow my mind. I found it functional and easy to use, however.

Once I moved away from the menus, I was able to hear audio recordings of words and phrases, which makes it so much easier to speak the Chickasaw language and not just read it. Some users may wish to use this with headphones when listening to pronunciations, and doing so can help them better hear the words in crowded places.

Some interesting features include a handful of traditional Chickasaw hymns, so I got to learn more about the Chickasaw culture as well. The language and culture of the Chickasaw Nation are important to members, who are working to preserve both. This app is just one of the ways the Chickasaw people share their heritage with both strangers and members of the culture itself. This app also includes two videos of the Chipota Chikashshanompoli, a club of children speaking the Chickasaw language.

Chickasaw Language Basic requires 62.7 megabytes of data, and it’s compatible with devices running iOS 3 or greater, which means it will work on older iPod Touch models as well as the newest iPhones.

Of course, this is a basic app, and you won’t become fluent overnight. However, it’s nice to see a digital tool that lets me learn the Chickasaw language without having to lug around a dictionary or hire a translator. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested, although, this app won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.


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