Haven’t gotten to those printouts yet, but found something more fun to do!
I haven’t found any children’s books in Arapaho (though I think the Southern Arapaho in Oklahoma have made some). If you know of any children’s books in Arapaho, please let us know how to get one by emailing us through the Request Phrases page. We brought the children’s classic Brown Bear to Dr. Andy Cowell for our play date because no elders are near us, and he did a rough off-the-top-of-his-head translation (posted in its raw condition on the Listen and Watch page). I want to bring you with me on the process of making a kid’s book available in Arapaho.
1.I pick a very simple board book that repeats the same words over and over. Natural objects are easier to say in Arapaho than man-made ones, so go with animals over trains or toys.
2. I make a recording on my phone of a fluent speaker reading it in Arapaho very slowly. They need time to look through it and think about the translations first, no rushing. Translating is thoughtful work and can feel pressuring, so respect that and give them them space.
3. I type up the words in English (start a transcription file). Then I listen to the Arapaho, stop after every word, and write it down in a way that I can remember how it sounds. It doesn’t matter if I spell it wrong here; I can fix that later. What matters is that when I read it, it sounds as close as I can get to how the elder said it.
4. If the words are simple enough — animal names, numbers, colors or descriptive words like big and little — I can look them up in the dictionary, and copy/paste those into my transcription.
5. I print out the transcription and write the Arapaho words into the book with a sharpie. Stickers get peeled off by little fingers, so I write right on the page. I save the transcription so I can share it, and so if my book gets ripped, I can write Arapaho in a new one without going through all of this again.
6. Once it is written, I practice listening to the sound file while reading the book myself. I listen to page 1, pause the recording, repeat page 1, and listen to page 2.
So let’s start! Here’s the English version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.
Red Bird, Red Bird, what do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me.
Yellow Duck, Yellow Duck, what do you see? I see a blue horse looking at me.
Blue Horse, Blue Horse, what do you see? I see a green frog looking at me.
Green Frog, Green Frog, what do you see? I see a purple cat looking at me.
Purple Cat, Purple Cat, what do you see? I see a white dog looking at me.
White Dog, White Dog, what do you see? I see a black sheep looking at me.
Black Sheep, Black Sheep, what do you see? I see a goldfish looking at me.
Goldfish, Goldfish, what do you see? I see a teacher looking at me.
Teacher, Teacher, what do you see? I see children looking at me.
Children, Children, what do you see?
We see a brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, a blue horse, a green frog, a purple cat, a white dog, a black sheep, a goldfish, and a teacher looking at us.
That’s what we see!