Updating Lakota

In order to remain vital, Lakota speakers must find a way to incorporate new ideas into the language. Annual neologism sessions are held at the Lakota Summer Institute. Here fluent speakers meet to develop new words for modern concepts. The group proposes a number of options, discusses the pros and cons of each, and then, in an exercise in linguistic democracy, votes on the selection. The winning words are incorporated into the dictionary and shared with the immersion schools in Lakota Country.

Another effort to keep Lakota vibrant is the ongoing updating of the New Lakota Dictionary. In June of 2013, the Lakota Language Consortium assembled a team of native speakers and linguists to record 28,000 words from the Dictionary, creating a model of language pronunciation that will be useful for generations to come. The recorded words were linked to the online version of the New Lakota Dictionary in 2014.