Language Teaching Software

Please note that the Nikamo software is now defunct.
We may, at a later time, consider creating a much improved web-version of it. If you at all interested in being notified if and when we do go ahead with a web version please contact us at the e-mail address below.

What is Nikamo?
Nikamo is Language Teaching Software. More specifically it is language software that is being developed with First Nations, Inuit, American Indian, and other aboriginal langauges in mind. It is initially being developed as Cree Language Software in Swampy Cree (N-dialect). Nikamo easily allows for other dialects and languages to be added (provided someone can provide voice clips and written text). There is also now interest in translating Nikamo into other languages (for example there has been interest in translation into Inuktitut and German, etc.). If you would like to see Nikamo in your language, feel free to contact me.

Why the need for First Nations language software
We are quickly losing our First Nations languages. If we do not do something now to revitilize our languages they could be lost within a generation or two.

How much does the Nikamo software cost?
The price for the Nikamo is $0.00 (in other words free). This means it is free to use for personal use, free to use for schools and educational institutions, and free for businesses and commercial organizations. Nikamo is Open Source Software (OSS) and is being licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Why is it Open Source?
First of all I like the concept of Open Source Software. OSS is not just controlled by one person, group, or company. This means that anyone that is interested can help contribute and be collaborators of the project. The good thing about this is that the community decides what the project should look like and where it is headed instead of it being dictated by a company. The downside, of course, is that there is not a huge budget to help drive an Open Source project. It therefore depends on people donating their free time (and on occasion monetary donations). Because of this development is not often as fast as with a commercial company (especially with only one or two developers).

The second reason I chose an Open Source model, and the reason I started the project in the first place, is that we are fast losing our aboriginal languages. Though there are currently efforts underway to help revitalize and retain these languages, resouces are not always readily available. Though there are a few aboriginal language software applications currently on the market, they do cost money and are therefore not considered readily available to everyone that might want it. Free software, on the other hand, is readily available to anyone with access to a computer. For language retention it is absolutely imperative to have access to free resources (including free software). Non-free materials, though they have their place, in many cases, actually work against language retention. In either case material resouces should only be a small part of language retention. Such resources should never take the place of learning language from parents, family members, and elders. A willingness to speak and use the language on a regular basis is of utmost importance.

What modules are available in Nikamo?
Currently only five modules are available, others will be added over time. The modules which are currently working (but by no means complete) include:

What is currently being worked on?
The development timeline that I am currently working on looks like this:

  1. After I get the basics of the story book module done I will do some major code cleanup and rewriting of some of the configuration files.
  2. Once the clean up and rewrites are done, adding other languages should be a piece of cake.
  3. If you have any ideas that you would like to see implemented, feel free to join the mailing list below.

What Operating Systems does Nikamo work with?
The program has been tested in Linux (Ubuntu), Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, and Mac OS X. However, it should also work in Microsoft Windows 98SE, Microsoft Windows ME, Microsoft Windows 2000. Please let me know if you successfully run the program in one of these (or other) Operating Systems.

How do I install Nikamo?
To use the program, you will first need to install it by doing the following:

  1. Install Sun's Java Runtime Environment at (Note: Currently some of the modules only work with Java 1.6 and higher. If you notice some of the modules do not load, make sure that you have the latest JRE.). Note that Nikamo also works with OpenJDK if you would rather use that instead of Sun's JRE.
  2. Download Nikamo from:

How do I run Nikamo?
After you have installed it on your computer, you may run it as follows:

  1. If you have Windows or Mac OS, you should be able to open the Nikamo folder and double click on the nikamo.jar file.
  2. If you have Linux, you may have to run the command "java -jar nikamo.jar" from the command line. If you would prefer to run the program from the GUI, then you will should move the conf folder to your $HOME directory.
  3. Please let me know if you have any problems with running the program

How can I modify or create my own configuration files?
Currently I have not created any documentation, however here is a brief description of how you can make modifications:

  1. Open up the "conf" folder
  2. The conf folder has 3 subfolders:
  3. Have a look at each of these files to see how they are formatted, they should give you an idea of how to add items. If you have any questions give me a shout.
  4. Note: When saving macrons in notepad (or other Windows word processor) the encoding must be saved as UTF-8. After you select File->Save As the Save-As dialog window will pop up. Change the Encoding from "ANSI" to "UTF-8". (If you use Linux rather Windows, the default encoding should already be UTF-8.)

Where can I find Cree and other aborignal fonts? has created a good collection of free (open source) fonts for Cree, Ojibway, Naskapi, Inuktitut, Cherokee, Dene, Blackfoot, and other languages. The fonts come equipped with both Standard Roman Orthography and Syllabics. You may download the fonts at:

How can I help contribute to Nikamo?
Particularily I am looking for contributions in the areas of voice clips and artwork. Programmers would also be a good asset. However, I welcome help in any area of your gifting.

Join the Nikamo Discussion List
If you want to be informed of updates or if you want to contribute to ideas and discussion about Nikamo, you can join the Nikamo Mailing List.

IRC Channel
Nikamo also has an Internet Relay Chat channel on the Freenode network. The next scheduled IRC meeting will be on January 22, 2009.

Contact me
If you need to contact me, feel free to contact me at: . If you find any errors in the program please don't hesitate to let me know. If you use IRC (Internet Relay Chat), you can also sometimes find me on the #nikamo channel on the freenode network.

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