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Thornton Media hopes to keep Native languages alive

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_B_b2scrapbook14.3e 24432.html Thornton Media in Banning hopes to keep Native American languages alive
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2008
      http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_B_b2scrapbook14.3e
      24432.html

      Thornton Media in Banning hopes to keep Native American languages alive

      10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

      By SHARILYN BANKOLE
      Special to The Press-Enterprise

      What's new: Thornton Media in Banning has developed a video game featuring
      Native American languages.

      What it does: Thornton creates unique tools aimed at preserving, teaching
      and translating dying Native American languages. The company's products are
      manufactured using the latest technological advances in linguistic
      electronics, said company spokeswoman and business partner Kara Thornton.
      The work is a passion she shares with her husband, company founder Don
      Thornton, whose mother is Cherokee.

      Southern California was once one of the most linguistically diverse areas
      in the world, and the Inland area is home to many Indian tribes, she said.

      The long-time Banning residents have worked with more than 90 American
      Indian reservations and Canadian Reserves to help preserve dying Native
      American languages.

      What it offers: Among the tools it has developed, the company's most
      popular is the Phraselator. The device is a handheld unit that can
      translate English into any Native American language, Thornton said.

      "The technology is cutting edge and is based on military technology," she
      said.

      Thornton's newest release, "Rez World," is a 3-D video game featuring a
      virtual Native American reservation where the user interacts with other
      virtual humans who speak only their native language. It is a proven
      technology and has been shown to be an effective tool in third-party
      testing with more than 20,000 students, Thornton said.

      Hours: The staff spends most of its time in the field recording and
      translating for people. Office hours vary and are by appointment only.

      Opened: July 1994

      Where: 89 N. San Gorgonio Blvd., Banning

      About the owner: Don Thornton has been an active member of the American
      Indian community in Los Angeles for 30 years with more than 15 years spent
      working in social services.

      Staff: Two employees and eight subcontractors

      Find out more: Visit www.ndnlanguage.com or call 818-406-3555.
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