We want others to feel comfortable using the language, and getting involved. Below are some activities for adults or students to start using the language. We hope educators feel free to take these and remix/re-use as they see fit. We would love to hear about the results. Reach out to us (email in footer) there is any further way we can help.
Education - Illustrate a Word
The Challenge: Create a drawing, photo, or illustration of a Uma word
Languages only work when they are used by people. A lot of times, people may not really understand how they can use a language to communicate in their lives. Creating art and education materials gives people examples of how the language can be used. In this challenge, you will make an educational drawing or illustration that captures your concept of a Uma word to help people understand how the word can be used.
Check out an example of educational posters our media page: https://www.houmalanguageproject.org/education/media
Go to our Lessons page and pick a vocab word: https://www.houmalanguageproject.org/education/learn
Create a drawing, take a photo, or create a digital illustration that captures the meaning of that word
Write the word in English and Uma on the drawing, or in the filename
Share with others, and post and tag #UmaSeyah on social media
Linguistics - Translate Your Name
The Challenge: Translate your name into the Uma Alphabet
Translating things from one language to another can get tricky because sometimes sounds, letters, or concepts exist in one language, but not the other. Comparative linguist tries to negotiate these differences by understanding why things do or don't exist, and finds compromises in ways to say things. They do this by creating translation guides that help people take a concept in one language and transfer it to another language. In this challenge, you will use the alphabet sound sheet and Uma translation guide to translate your given name into the Uma Alphabet.
Take a look at the examples of translated names on our langauge examples page: https://www.houmalanguageproject.org/linguistics/examples
Write down your name in English
Use our Alphabet Sound Sheet to translate
Compare your Uma name and English name using the Translation Guide to make any adjustments
Submit your name and the translation of your name in Uma to the Uma Name Challenge form for feedback
Post and tag #UmaSeyah on social media
Archiving - Conduct an Interview
The Challenge: Conduct an interview with someone
Most of what we know about languages, cultures, and traditional knowledge that are no longer around come from people who happened to be listening at the right place at the right time. The more people are out there listening, taking notes, and recording, the more likely we can preserve examples. These examples can help future generations understand us and our way of life. Many times, people do not even know what in danger of being lost. Getting in the habit of listening and interviewing others can help us think about what those around us know, and make sure we are respecting the knowledge around us. In this challenge, we want you to take the plunge and conduct an interview.
Check out our examples on our interviews page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyfoOS8VVY&list=PLjwVDKe7I06KCAm9IpuerAPsWr0bTUOF3
Think about who you would like to interview, and write down a few topics you would like to talk to them about
Ask them if you could interview them one day, let them know the topics you are interested in, and set up a time and date to meet.
Use the topic list to create some questions. You may want to start with 1-4 really easy, one word answer questions, and at least 1-3 deep complex answer questions. (Check out the Story Corps question list if you need inspiration: https://storycorps.org/participate/great-questions/)
Decide on how you will record. Sometimes it is best to just listen and take notes, and other times it may be best to record the audio or video of the interview. Make sure pencils are sharpened, you have plenty of paper, and any recording device is charged and in working order.
Meet up for the interview. Let them know you are grateful for their time.
Tell the guest a summary of the questions you will ask, and ask them if these are ok topics to cover with them. In low-stakes cultural interviews, you want to make sure your guest is comfortable and understands what they will be talking about.
Be sure to confirm that the interviewee is ok with however you choose to record. This conversation should be recorded at the beginning of the interview. It should include asking them if it is ok to record, letting them know where the recording will be stored, who may see it in the future, and what you plan to use it for. Also let them know that they can revoke consent at the end of the interview if they need.
Start! Ask questions and listen to what they have to say.
Its ok to get off topic and go into talking about something that you had not planned if that if both you and your interviewee are ok with it.
Keep room for long pauses, and don't try to fill in the silence. A lot of times interviewees need the quiet time to think.
Deeply listen to what the person is saying. Ask yourself - what would I have done if I were in their shoes? How does this make this person feel? Is there a reason why the person has chosen to talk about this?
Its ok to change your questions, or ask different questions than you prepared.
If you find the conversation is getting off track, steer back to your question list. You could say something like "I appreciate that info, but I have a question about ____ I would like to ask."
Check out the Smithsonian's Oral History Guide if you need more tips on interviews: https://folklife-media.si.edu/docs/folklife/interviewing_guide/InterviewingGuide.pdf
Stick to the amount of time you both agreed on, and let the interviewee know when the time is up. You all can certainly keep going if both people are willing.
Thank them for their time and knowledge.
Ask them if they would like a copy of your notes or the recording, and get an address for sending it.
When you are out of the interview, spend some time thinking about what your heard. Could you tell their story again from what you heard? What parts were interesting to you? Why were they interesting? What did they feel most excited to talk about? What made that important to them? How has your perspective changed about this person after you have interviewed them?
Send a copy of the notes or recording to your interviewee no later than one week after the interview.
If it is ok with your interviewee, post online, and tag #UmaSeyah