New Tlingit encyclopedia baffling to scholars, speakers

A new encyclopedia of the Tlingit language has teachers in Sitka scratching their heads. The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort. The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers. Ethel Mackinen, a retired teacher in the Sitka Native Education program, says she can't understand the spoken Tlingit in WE International's "Hlingit Word Encyclopedia: The Origin of Copper," or read the 630 pages text. "You have to be a speaker of the language," says Makinen, "before you can develop a book without knowledgeable people." Read More