language

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

What’s the best way to learn a language? Salish teachers are using music and song to introduce their Native American language to new speakers. It’s a language spoken by many tribes across the Northwest.

Every year, a conference that celebrates Salish culminates in an annual karaoke contest in Spokane. Contestants have to translate a song and perform it in front of judges.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

This week, nearly 500 teachers and students of Salish are in Spokane to celebrate the indigenous language. It’s considered ‘critically endangered,’ but tribal elders are optimistic that younger generations aren’t going to let the language disappear. 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Native speakers from across the Northwest and Canada are in Spokane this week to speak Salish and learn from those who teach it.

M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/ho43w2r

Three Republican state lawmakers filed an initiative petition this week to make English the official language of the state of Oregon.

Census Report Reveals Language Trends In Northwest Homes

Aug 8, 2013
US Census Bureau. This map shows the distribution of Spanish-speaking households in 2011.

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show the Northwest has fewer people who speak a foreign language at home than the country as a whole. But the highest concentrations of foreign speaking households in the region are not where you might expect.

As you might guess, language trends are closely tied to immigration. So certain languages, like Norwegian, are declining in American homes. Others, like Russian, are being spoken more. Overall, the proportion of the American population that speaks a language besides English at home is rising, according to the new report.

Supreme Court Justice Urges Funding For Video Translation

Jan 23, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court wants state lawmakers to fund video translation for people in court who don’t speak English. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen told a joint session of the state legislature Wednesday that a remote interpreter service would be less expensive than having a translator present.

She says courts currently have certified interpreters for only 35 languages.