The Osage Language App is available for Apple and Android devices.
Education | National | Technology

Osage Nation continues language revitalization efforts with mobile application





The Osage Nation is keeping its language alive with the help of new technology.

WahZhaZhe, the tribe's first language mobile application, debuted for Apple and Android devices this week. Developed in partnership with Thornton Media, the app teaches users how to speak and write hundreds of Osage words. It also features games and quizzes so users can test their knowledge.

"One of Chief Standing Bear's primary goals is to expand the Osage language and retain culture," the app states. Geoffrey Standing Bear serves as the principal of the Osage Nation.

The launch of the new app comes after Mongrain Lookout, the tribe's master language teacher, visited Silicon Valley, the hub of high-tech companies in California, late last month. He met with engineers at search giant Google and attended a technology conference as part of the tribe's effort to revitalize the Osage language.

“I told [tech engineers] my story but I was really telling them the [Osage Nation’s] story. They had never heard about us before; how we conduct ourselves, our ways, our religion, our social ways, all the things we do that are Osage,” Lookout said of his visit to Google.

The tribe is now working on fonts and keyboards for the Osage language in order to reach more users. The technology can be deployed to computers and mobile devices, and can be used to deliver content through websites and social media. Eventually, Osage speakers might even be able to use the language to perform searches on Google.

The Cherokee Nation has already taken similar steps for its language.