Ho-Chunk Nation is excited to announce the release of their Hoocąk Wazijaci (Ho-Chunk language) online and mobile dictionary.
Ho-Chunk Nation has anticipated the release of this digital dictionary for years. Its development began in July 2019, when Elders and speakers gathered for two weeks to build an initial language database. A team of linguists gave fluent speakers prompts and documented the answers, sorted words into categories, and recorded audio files of Elders and speakers. Ho-Chunk Nation held an additional three gatherings after that first word collection to verify and review recordings. The Language Conservancy (TLC), a nonprofit organization that supports language revitalization efforts, aided Ho-Chunk Nation throughout the word collection and dictionary development process by providing grant writing assistance and technical support. In 2021, the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) awarded the dictionary project grant funding that lead to its completion.
The new Hoocąk Wazijaci dictionary is freely available online and via mobile download. It includes nearly 12,000 entries and over 9,000 example sentences. Accessibility to a resource this robust will aid generations of future learners, which is the ultimate goal of Ho-Chunk Nation’s language revitalization efforts. Creating new, dynamic ways for individuals to learn the language allows them to connect further with their heritage.
The digital dictionary’s release is just the beginning. Over the next two years, Ho-Chunk Nation is focused on developing an eLearning platform.