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Supercomputing Challenge

The Endangered Navajo Language

Team: 19


Area of Science: Linguistics

Interim: Problem Definition:
The Navajo language has been in decay over the past few generations, and is in danger of becoming a dead language if something is not done. In a predominately English speaking world, Navajo has become nearly obsolete in day to day communication.

With our program, we hope to model the decline of the Navajo language and predict how long it will take a population to lose the ability to speak Navajo completely. This information may be useful in creating a time frame that we have to remedy this problem.

Problem Solution:
The program will start with a certain population of turtles of which a certain percentage speak navajo only, both navajo and english, english with a little navajo, or english only. The turtles will then move around and meet other turtles. Each turtle will have a certain gender, age, and proficiency for the navajo language. If the gender and age correspond to a specific criteria, then when the turtles interact, there will be a chance of them creating offspring. These offspring will then decide if it can speak the language based on a probability calculated using the parents and grandparents respective ability to speak the Navajo language. After so long, turtles will begin to die based on the average lifespan of a human being.

We are going to determine how much influence a child's family has on his/her ability to speak Navajo through analysis of surveys given to people from our school. We have recieved the surveys, but have yet to analyze them for a probability.

Progress to Date:
We have created surveys that we hope will give us the information needed to ascertain the probability of the language being passed on to offspring. We have distributed these surveys to the Navajo language classes here at Bloomfield High School and have recieved them back. We plan to classify these surveys into certain groups to better see what we are working with.

Expected Results:
At the end of this project, we expect to have a program that can predict the number of speakers of the Navajo language after a certain period of time. The program should be able to change certain variables such as starting population, original number of navajo speakers, number of children someone can have, and the expected life span of the people.

Team Members: Clayton Baird, Tel Baird, Skyler Maley, Joel Crockett, Shea Valdez

Mentors: Mrs. Benally,

Team Members:

  Clayton Baird
  Tel Baird
  Shea Valdez
  Joel Crockett
  Skyler Maley

Sponsoring Teacher: Elvira Crockett

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