North America's Indigenous Languages

This page is for developers interestested in developing language support for North America's indigenous languages. It lists the information we have and ideas how to implement those languages into Debian.

0. Introduction

North America has over 100 tribes each with their own language and dialects. To date none of those languages is supported by any operating system on the market. All of the Aborignal Languages have an ISO 639-3 code. Many of them are documented in Ethnologue as well as at Languagegeek. We can create locales for these languages as well as getting orthographies into fontconfig.

The languages use latin characters with diacritics, Syllabics, and Cherokee script. The idea is to creat .orth files for fontconfig for each language. These can then be submitted to fontconfig and the data can be used to create xkb keyboard layouts. The keyboard layouts can then be used to type in locale information.

Once all of the font, keyboard, and locale information is entered, then the real work of translating the operating system begins.

1. Languages Overview

Approximately fourty-five First Nations, Inuktitut, and Métis languages are spoken in Canada. The languages with the greatest number of speakers are Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (60,000); Ojibwe (40,000); Inuktitut (20,000); Chipewyan (4,000-12,000); Mi’kmaq (3,000-5,000); Mohawk (3,800); Assiniboine (3,600); Slave (3,000); Babine, Dogrib, Carrier, Chilcotin, and Blackfoot (2,000 each); Gitksan and Malecite (1,000 each); Gwich’in (500 in Canada, 700 in Alaska); and Nisgha (700-1000). 1

Language (en)

Language (native)

ISO639-3

Proposed Locale

Fontconfig

xkb

Remarks

Wôbanakiôdwawôgan

Western Abenaki

abe

abe_CA

ca(abe)

Anicinapemiȣin/Anishinàbemiwin

Algonquin

alq

alq_CA

ca(alq)

Nakoda

Assiniboine

asb

asb_CA

ca(asb)

Atikamekw

Attikamek-Cree

atj

atj_CA

ca(atj)

Blackfoot

Siksika–Kainaa–Piikani

bla

bla_CA

ca(bla)

Nuxalk

Bella Coola

blc

blc_CA

ca(blc)

ᑕᗸᒡ Dakelh

Central Carrier, Southern Carrier

caf

caf_CA

ca(caf)

Goyogo̱hó:nǫ’

Cayuga

cay

cay_CA

ca(cay)

Dënesųłine ᑌᓀᓱᐠᒼᕄᓀ/ᑌᓀᓲᒡᕄᓀ

Chipewyan

chp

chp_CA

ca(chp)

ᏣᎳᎩ Tsalagi

Cherokee

chr

chr_CA

chr.orth

ca(chr)

Etse̊hesenestse

Cheyenne

chy

chy_CA

ca(chy)

Nǝxʷsƛ̓ay̓ǝmúcǝn

Klallam

clm

clm_CA

ca(clm)

ʔayʔaǰuθəm/Saɬuɬtxʷ

Comox/Homalco/Klahoose/Sliammon

coo

coo_CA

ca(coo)

ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ – ᐃᓂᓂᒧᐏᐣ – ᐃᓕᓕᒧᐎᓐ – ᐄᔨᔫ ᐊᔮᒨᓐ

Southern East Cree

crj

crj_CA

ca(crj)

ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ

Plains Cree

crk

crk_CA

ca(crk)

ᐄᔨᔫ ᐊᔨᒨᓐ

Northern East Cree

crl

crl_CA

ca(crl)

ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐎᓐ

Moose Cree

crm

crm_CA

ca(crm)

ᐃᓂᓃᒧᐏᐣ

Swampy Cree

csw

csw_CA

ca(csw)

ᓀᐦᐃᖬᐍᐏᐣ

Woods Cree

cwd

cwd_CA

ca(cwd)

Tłįchǫ

Tlicho

dgr

dgr_CA

ca(dgr)

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

Inuktitut, Eastern

esb

esb_CA

ca(esb)

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

Inuktitut, Western

esb

esb_CA

ca(esb)

Iñupiaq

Inupiaq

esi

esi_CA

ca(esi)

Gitksanimx̱/Gitx̱sanimx̱/Gitx̱senimx̱

Gitksan

git

git_CA

ca(git)

Gwich’in/Dinjii Zhuh

Kutchin

gwi

gwi_CA

ca(gwi)

Hän

Hän

haa

haa_CA

ca(haa)

x̱at'ee, x̱aaydag̱aay, Kasaan, K’iis Xaat’aagang

Haida Language

hdn

hdn_CA

ca(hdn)

Hailhzaqvla

Heiltsuk

hei

hei_CA

ca(hei)

Halkomelem

Halq’eméylem, Hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓, Hul’q’umín’um’

hur

hur_CA

ca(hur)

Inuvialuktun

Inuvialukton

ikt

ikt_CA

ca(ikt)

Kaáⁿze Íe

Kanza

ksk

ksk_CA

ca(ksk)

Ktunaxa

Kutenai

kut

kut_CA

ca(kut)

Kwak̕wala/Kʷak̓ʷala

Kwakiutl

kwk

kwk_CA

ca(kwk)

St̓at̓imcets

Lillooet

lil

lil_CA

ca(lil)

Lak̇ot̄a

Teton

lkt

lkt_CA

ca(lkt)

Dəxʷləšucid

Lushootseed

lut

lut_CA

ca(lut)

Mamaceqtaw

Menominee

mez

mez_CA

ca(mez)

Rų́ʔeta:re

Mandan

mhq

mhq_CA

ca(mhq)

Mi'gmawi'simg/Míkmawísimk

Micmac

mic

mic_CA

ca(mic)

Miwok

Miwok

mkq

mkq_CA

ca(mkq)

Ilnu/Innu Aimun

Innu-Montagnais

moe

moe_CA

ca(moe)

Kanien’kéha

Mohawk

moh

moh_CA

ca(moh)

Maskoke

Creek

mus

mus_CA

ca(mus)

Diné Bizaad

Navajo

nav

nav_CA

ca(nav)

Nisg̱a’a

Nishga

ncg

ncg_CA

ca(ncg)

Nuučaan̓uł

Nootka

noo

noo_CA

ca(noo)

ᓇᔅᑲᐱ Naskapi

Naskapi

nsk

nsk_CA

ca(nsk)

ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᒧᐏᐣ

Ojibwa

ojb

ojb_CA

ca(ojb)

ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᒧᐎᐣ

Oji-Cree

ojs

ojs_CA

ca(ojs)

Onʌyota’a:ka

Oneida

one

one_CA

ca(one)

Onǫda’géga’

Onondaga

ono

ono_CA

ca(ono)

Nishnaabemwin

Odawa

otw

otw_CA

ca(otw)

Neshnabémwen/Bodéwadmiwen

Potawatomi

pot

pot_CA

ca(pot)

Northern Slavey

Sahtú Got’ine, K’áshogot’ine, Shihgot’ine

scs

scs_CA

ca(scs)

Onödowaga

Seneca

see

see_CA

ca(see)

Tsek’ehne

Sekani

sek

sek_CA

ca(sek)

Secwepemctsin

Shuswap

shs

shs_CA

shs.orth

ca(shs)

Nakoda

Stoney

sto

sto_CA

ca(sto)

SENĆOŦEN

Straits Salish

str

str_CA

ca(str)

Nłeʔkepmxcin/Nlha7kápmx

Thompson

thp

thp_CA

ca(thp)

Lingít

Tlingit

tli

tli_CA

ca(tli)

Sm'algya̱x

Tsimshian

tsi

tsi_CA

ca(tsi)

Skarùrę

Tuscarora

tus

tus_CA

ca(tus)

Wiyot

Wiyot

wiy

wiy_CA

ca(wiy)

Dene Tha ᑌᓀᒐ

Southern Slavey

xsl

xsl_CA

ca(xsl)

Yokuts

Yokuts

yok

yok_CA

ca(yok)

2. Discussion

2.1. General Information

2.2. Keyboard Layout Ideas

The default keyboard layout in US and Canada is the standard US English layout (104 keys). There are three types of writing amongst the North American Aboriginal/Indigenous Population: Roman Orthographies, Syllabics, and Cherokee script.

The Roman Orthographies can use an include(us) statement, with a third-level chooser to type the accents.

There is an Inuktitut keyboard available in xkeyboard-config. Will have to see if this Inuktitut keyboard can be used for the other languages that use syllabics as well.

For the Cherokee Script there are a two keyboard layouts out there:

http://arapaho.nsuok.edu/~lindee/cherokee/ - this has been created and is part of xkeyboard-config in testing http://www.cherokee.org/Extras/Downloads/Font/Keyboard.htm

3. Fonts with support for the special characters

Font

Debian pkg

Remarks

Aboriginal Series LG

ttf-lg-aboriginal

Gentium SIL

ttf-sil-charis

Dejavu Sans

ttf-dejavu

The best font coverage for Aboriginal languages comes from the Debian package ttf-lg-aboriginal. Using fc-list :lang=chr, the Aboriginal Series font is the only font that shows up. There is also a Cherokee font from the Cherokee Nation will have to find the status

4. Locale Data Collection

Currently the one locale that has been created and is accepted upstream is shs_CA. There are locales for nsk_CA, kut_CA and mic_CA that have not been submitted upstream.

5. Fontconfig

Fontconfig has a directory to add .orth files these contain a listing of the Unicode code points necessary to display a language. The GDM uses fontconfig to determine if a certain language is displayable.

There is currently an shs.orth file upstream and a few more patches have been submitted. Should make patches against the Debian packages until the .orth files work there way through the release cycle.

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