University of Utah program helps Shoshone youths keep language alive

Published: Wednesday, July 21 2010 4:52 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Nine Shoshone and Goshute high school students from the Great Basin region were schooled in language during a University of Utah summer program.

The Shoshone Youth Language Apprenticeship Program ends today, with presentation of a talking dictionary, children's story books and a claymation video, at a closing reception, at 7 p.m., at the S.J. Quinney College of Law House, 161 Officers Circle.

There are only about 3,000, mostly elderly speakers of Shoshone left, and irreplaceable cultural knowledge would be lost if it went extinct, according to Katherine Matsumoto-Gray, a graduate teaching assistant in linguistics at the U. who said the language is essentially their identity.

— Paul Koepp

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