Kernaia: Revitalizing Indigenous Languages in Latin America

Kernaia is a digital content platform that prevents indigenous languages in Latin America from becoming obsolete while integrating its native speakers into the digital economy. Through an open innovation process, Kernaia nurtures a prosumer ecosystem where indigenous communities have a leading role in the revitalization of their culture for the 21st century.

Cultural Anthropology, Behavioral Science, Strategic Design, Open Innovation
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The Challenge

Did you know that there are more than 20 million people in the Americas who speak an indigenous language and also have access to the Internet, a smartphone, or a tablet? And yet, no content is created explicitly for these languages. As a consequence, excluding them from the digital economy, where ample opportunities for development occur in the 21st century. Accessing information digitally is a determining factor for wealth generation, social transformation and human development. The indigenous populations across the American continent face marginal access to digital content that allows them to find favorable conditions of development and meet their needs for entertainment, education and cultural identity. Manuvo addresses this technological and social gap by contributing a model that prevents indigenous languages from becoming obsolete while integrating their native speakers into the digital economy.

Introducing Kernaia

Kernaia is an open innovation platform that preserves, disseminates, and revitalizes of indigenous languages for the digital age, through three mutually-reinforcing strategies: training, co-creation, and commercialization. First, Kernaia partners with indigenous communities to implement workshops that develop digital skills like coding, illustration, sound design, UX/UI design, and multimedia production. Next, Kernaia collaborates with native musicians, artists, writers, linguists and teachers, to co-create a wide range of mobile applications, interactive books, movies, music, and video games. And finally, these products are then published and commercialized in the Kernaia marketplace. This prosumer model creates a profitable, scalable, and sustainable ecosystem over time.

Let’s Learn Mixteco!

Learn the Ñuu Davi language from Santa Inés de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, a Mixtec variant of the Oto-Mangue language family. Let’s Learn Mixteco! was developed in the area of ​​technological creativity of the Digital Citizenship Laboratory, with the aim of using technology to spread and generate interest in the regional languages, the community life system and the cosmogony of indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Let’s Learn Purépecha!

P'urhépecha is the language spoken in the north-central region of the state of Michoacán, in Mexico. Let’s Learn Purepecha! is a mobile application that aims to teach and preserve the P'urhépecha language, which combines vocabulary and phrases with illustrations and audio that make learning a fun and educational experience. The app targets people who are interested in using technology to relate to the Purépecha culture, and learn more about a community that maintains its traditions, and is in constant transformation.

Let’s Learn Nahuatl!

Nahuatl was the lingua franca of the Aztec empire. Let’s Learn Nahuatl! gathers words and expressions in Nahuatl, as currently spoken in Acatlán, Guerrero, Mexico. With this app users can immerse themselves in the Nahuatl culture while learning greeting expressions, vocabulary for colors, numbers, fruits and animals, and discovering the cosmogony of this fascinating community.

Local artists illustrate the applications.
Native speakers create the lessons and record character voices.
Indigenous communities create, distribute, and market their own digital products.

A language is an opportunity to immerse ourselves in different societies and their history, different ways of thinking, working, celebrating, believing. Language is so important that, if it disappears, the entire culture in which it was born would disappear. Kernaia breaks the paradigm that indigenous languages ​​should be kept for museums or academic papers, because they, like the people who speak them, have transformed and become a living part of today's world. Hopefully, while we learn words, traditions, and landscapes, we'll strengthen our recognition and respect for the multiculturalism of humanity.