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Kernaia's New 'DuoLingo' App Teaches Indigenous Mexican Languages

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March 1, 2017

Preserve Indigenous histories by passing on languages that Spanish colonizers in Mexico attempted to annihilate? There’s an app for that.

The “Vamos a aprender nahuatl” app is a new one that seeks to make it easier to learn the Indigenous language of Nahuatl, spoken in Acatlan, Guerrero, Mexico. Kernaia, the company behind it — whose mission is to create “an ecosystem of digital content for Indigenous languages” — designed the app similar to the popular language learning app DuoLingo.

“Vamos a aprender nahuatl” features a glossary and quizzes. However, the language’s writing system is not featured — the reason for which can be traced back hundreds of years.

In the mid-1500s, when Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztec Empire, Nahuatl stood to be completely driven to extinction, as the Spaniards wanted to destroy the language and replace it with Spanish. While decrees were issued to keep the Indigenous population from speaking it, missionaries used it to convert people to Catholicism. The aggregate effect was that Nahuatl’s writing system was lost and the language has since been passed down orally.

Kernaia has also created similar apps for other Indigenous languages, such as Purepecha and Mixteco.

Read the rest at teleSUR

Related: These Apps Teach the Culture and Languages of Mexican Indigenous Communities (Remezcla)

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