ID :
Tue, 01/24/2023 - 17:09
Auther :

Board game in 11 languages of North's peoples supplied to Russia's 15 regions

KRASNOYARSK, January 23. /TASS/. Russia's first series of the Nomad Camp interactive board games in eleven languages of the North's low-numbered indigenous peoples were supplied to far-away settlements in 15 regions, the project's author, field linguist Karina Sheifer told TASS. In 2020, Karina Sheifer of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Linguistics initiated a project to make the Nomad Camp interactive board game for learning of the North's peoples' endangered languages. The project has been supported by the Federal Agency for Youth's Affairs and by the Arctic Development Project Office (PORA). "I had this idea of a board game for quite a time. Being a field linguist, I travel a lot to the Russian North and every year I can see declining numbers of people among the indigenous small groups who speak their native language. It took us a long time to make this board game. Finally, designer Olesya Stetsenko and I created a series of Nomad Camp games in eleven languages for 15 regions of the North, Siberia and the Far East. The game's total circulation is 4,450 sets," the scientist said. The game is for 16 players. Each set has a dictionary and 60 cards. The plot is based on the national culture of the North's peoples. The main characters are animals that live in the territory where a particular language is common. The first board game was made in the Evenk and Even languages. The most sets were released in those languages - about 2,500 copies. Later on, appeared games in Koryak, Alutor, Dolgan, tundra Yukagir, forest Yukagir and their dialects. These games were produced in a smaller number of copies - no more than 300. The number of copies is based on requests from the tribes, she explained. "It is very difficult nowadays to calculate how many people speak rare languages in Russia. No census can answer whether a native speaker knows one word or speaks fluently. It is also equally difficult to understand how many people in nomadic families know the language. Therefore, we cooperate with communities," she said. According to the linguist, the game's main task is to teach ethnic groups their native languages. Nomadic Camp is a tool to support and preserve endangered national languages. The board game is designed both for mastering the language from scratch and for developing communication skills if there is a certain level of speaking the native language. The game is designed in an ethnic style, which, authors believe, will arouse additional interest in the native language and culture. The scientists plan to make the game in languages of all peoples whose traditional way of life has been connected with reindeer husbandry. In the future, they will develop kits for the Nenets, Chukchi, Yakuts, Khanty, Komi, Tuvinians, Tofalars and Northern Karelians. In 2023, they will release games in the Kilda Sami, Mansi, Nganasan and Forest Enets languages. Evenks' experience in learning language while playing The board games are provided for free to educational and social institutions in places where the indigenous peoples live. The games are supplied to schools, kindergartens, libraries, ethnic centers, clubs, tribal communities and large families, as well as to nomadic families. "We have seen that in 90% of cases children do not know their native language at all. For most ethnic groups in the North, language transmission within families from one generation to another stopped more than 30 years ago," the expert explained. Evenkia was one of the first to receive board game kits. The leader of the Holana ethnic artistic group Elvira Kaplina said practically all the kids are playing the game. "The game is very popular in our Vanavara village. We get together with the kids, break into teams and play for several hours. It is important that the kids are of different ages - from 7 to 18. Adults also join us," she said. Kids, who have not spoken any native language, begin to memorize simple words and phrases after the first game already, she continued. "I myself, as a native speaker, can see that nowadays almost all children in our village do not know even a dozen words in Evenk or Even. The advantage of this game-based learning is that kids can learn the language from scratch," she added. The Evenk experience of learning the native language has stirred interest from tribal communities in other regions - the Khanty-Mansi, Murmansk and Sverdlovsk. They have asked the game authors to make Nomadic Camp in languages of their indigenous peoples. "Many regions address us independently. We know the languages where there are only one or two native speakers left, and they are quite old. Therefore, it is important to transfer at least some language knowledge to children," the scientist said. The Evenks are an indigenous small-numbered group of the North. About 77,000 Evenks live in the world, where about 40,000 live in Russia. At the moment, 35% of Evenks speak their native language. The Evens are a group related to the Evenks, their total number is about 20,000 people. Read more