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Seminole Language Soon On CD-ROM

HOLLYWOOD - Miccosukee, one of two Native languages spoken by Seminole Indians, is not a written language.

But soon it will exist on CD-ROM.

The Seminole Tribal Council gave the go-ahead to Chairman James Billie, Nov. 12, to enter into a collaboration agreement with Fairfield Language Technologies to produce a multimedia program to teach the Tribe's Miccosukee language. It will be part of Fairfield's unique language project called The Rosetta Stone.

An award-winning method of teaching without memorization, translation or studying rules of grammar, The Rosetta Stone is a natural match for a language like Miccosukee that has a renowned oral tradition.

The Rosetta Stone's ability to teach, regardless of the learning style or age of the user, and with or without a teacher, have made this natural, comprehension based method successful around the world. Students learn the new language using pictures to convey the meaning and hearing the language as spoken by native speakers, without any use of English. With the Rosetta Stone, there is only immersion in the living language as it is used in everyday life. Miccosukee will join more than two dozen other languages in the Rosetta Stone Language Library.

The project, which will involve Seminole translators and speakers and the services of several Tribal departments, is expected to take between a year and 20 months to complete. The final product will be a set of computer CD-ROM discs and instructional materials for Level One and Level Two Miccosukee. "When that happens and our children can get behind a computer screen and learn our language, it will be a dream come true," said Chairman Billie, who will choose the Tribal members to participate in the project.

At the conclusion of the project, the Chairman said he would also consider funding a Rosetta Stone project for the Creek language, the other dialect spoken by many Seminoles.

"We have produced programs for languages around the world" commented Allen Stoltzfus, President of Fairfield. "And now it is thrilling to be working with the Seminole Tribe to support and help to pass on, the rich and proud history of one of the original languages of this continent. We look forward to the chance to use our discoveries in the uses of modern technology for this kind of work with other groups."

Those interested in learning more about the Rosetta Stone and trying out a demonstration of the technique, can do so online at www.rosettastone.com.

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