Keres Language Project

Our Plan

Acoma Keres Language Recovery Project (First Phase, 2017-2020)

Over the next three years, the Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education and The Language Conservancy will assess and document the Keres language by developing a Digital Keres Dictionary and developing two Levels (1&2) of a K-12 sequence of language instructional Textbooks and Audio CDS, supported by appropriate Teacher Training and Assessment Testing, which will promote the survival of the Keres language and culture for future generations on the Acoma Pueblo Reservation. This site-based, school-centered educational program will provide Keres language instruction and assessment for at least 619 Acoma children and trainings with college credit in second-language education methods for 15 Keres teachers each year. Upon the completion of this project, 45 teachers will be certified to teach the Keres language.

 Acoma Digital Dictionary

As part of a larger strategic plan to preserve and revitalize the Keres language, the Acoma Pueblo will create a dictionary of approximately 15,000 words. The Dictionary will offer speakers a user-friendly way to access the language in both the Keres-English and English-Keres sections. The volume will be feature-rich and will contain many elements found in the latest modern dictionaries. There will be practical example sentences for entries. It will have a consistent and reliable spelling. Its orthography will effectively mark all m

eaningful sounds in the language. For the language learner, word-stems and stem nests (words that are related through a stem) will be described. In addition, special symbols will mark the 1000 and 3000 most frequently used words in the language. This important feature will allow students to learn a more limited and useful set of words. Finally, the dictionary’s modern layout will make it easy for students to find words and learn about their usage. When complete, the Keres Dictionary will be made available to Keres language teachers, learners, and scholars in libraries and schools. This Keres Dictionary will be the most comprehensive and accessible documentation of the language yet produced, with the most extensive vocabulary set ever preserved.

The Level 1 and 2 Textbooks build upon an already-established and proven template and will provide linguistically correct second-language instruction integrated with the unique Pueblo of Acoma culture and reviewed and approved by Acoma community consultants. Books and Audio CDs will be distributed to the Sky City Community School. The language curriculum will be integrated into the daily curriculum and seasonal themes of each individual school.

By the end of the project period, TLC will develop, edit, and issue the Keres Digital Dictionary for online, desktop, and mobile device usage, providing definitions and pronunciation for over 15,000 Keres words.

Keres Language Curriculum/ Level 1&2 Textbooks

Within the next three years, TLC will develop and edit two Levels (1&2) of a K-12 sequence of language instructional Textbooks and Audio CDS. Project staff will work with fluent Keres speakers as consultants for accuracy; record Audio CDs to accompany the textbook lessons; work with a graphic artist on adaptations to a TLC textbook template; and print and distribute the Textbooks and Audio CDs to 15 Keres teachers at area schools. These textbooks will be a vital step in Keres language documentation and revitalization efforts that will increase the linguistic self-sufficiency of the Acoma Pueblo.

Keres Summer Institute

TLC has developed a comprehensive system for language revitalization that includes linguistics, teacher instruction, student education, oversight, and social components. Acoma teachers learn how to use pedagogically correct curriculum and literature across a range of uses. The KSI will develop a new language teacher corps utilizing proven teaching methodologies with a standard, sequenced language curriculum to lay the groundwork for a population of Omaha-language speakers.

By the end of the project period, TLC will provide 3 summer institute training sessions. The sessions will introduce the Textbooks and Audio CDs and give teachers a strong foundation in second-language learning instruction. Participating teachers will earn also earn Continuing Development Credit Hours from New Mexico State University – Grants.

Pre-and Post-Test System Implementation

Pre-and post-testing generates a data picture of students’ language proficiency at the beginning of a school year and charts how that proficiency has increased over the course of the year’s instruction. TLC will develop Level 1 and 2 pre-and post-tests in order to reveal the effectiveness of curriculum, teacher effort, and mark the relationships between second-language learning achievement and achievement in other academic areas.

Post-Phase 1

Three years after the project period, in 2023, approximately 883 students will have been instructed and post-tested with the Level 1 Curriculum and approximately 883 students will have been instructed and post tested at Level 2. Post-tests will reveal that 90% of these students will increase their language proficiency, achieving Beginner-and Elementary-level proficiencies.