Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


By CVN Staff 

Sealaska project develops Tlingit language tools


August 4, 2011

Sealaska Heritage Institute recently created several tools to help advance the teaching of Tlingit through the use of alphabet cards, an interactive online tool and a CD, and a fluent Tlingit speaker from Klukwan is one of the people behind the project.

The project was the brainchild of Dr. Rosita Worl, president of the institute.

The artwork was created by Crystal Worl and proofed by Linda Belarde, curriculum specialist with the institute, and Katrina Hotch of Klukwan. The women worked to make sure the cards representing the 50 letters of the Tlingit alphabet had the correct "pinch" or underline marks and the proper tone marks on the certain letters. The final project was reviewed by the late Dr. Walter Soboleff, a traditional scholar who died in May.

Along with the cards, an online tool lets people hear how the letters are spoken, including sounds not familiar in the English language.

"In fact, four of them as far as linguists have researched are not found in any other language in the world," Belarde said. "So it is important to be able to hear these."

The ANS Hall in Klukwan received a set of cards and has them displayed on the wall around the hall. Belarde said the language arts teacher in Klukwan will also receive a set as will the Haines School, if they request them.

The cards and CD are also available to individuals for $23 and can be ordered through the institute. The online Tlingit language tool is available at in the language resources section.