Eyak became the first of Alaska's endangered Languages to be declared "extinct" when the last Native speaker, Marie Smith Jones, died in January 2008. Now, nearly three years later, there is an ambitious new effort to make Eyak the first Alaska language to be brought back to life.
On Jan. 1, a website was launched just after midnight to begin the process of helping Eyaks learn the basics of their "lost" language. It is just one part of the Eyak Language Project: q'aayaa tl'hix (A New Beginning) -- an intensive effort to document, preserve and distribute learning materials to individuals and institutions throughout Alaska and beyond.
The website features a word of the week selected from the archival recordings of the language with Marie Smith Jones, along with new recordings of words and phrases modeled by Dr. Michael Krauss, the linguist who has spent nearly 50 years documenting the language in writing. The website also includes lessons designed by Guillaume Leduey, a 21-year-old man from France who taught himself how to speak the language from online materials when he was just twelve.
Read the full press release at http://thebristolbaytimes.com/article/1052eyak_language_to_get_boost_from_website
The Eyak Language Project Website is available at http://sites.google.com/site/eyaklanguageproject