Thornton Media hopes to keep Native languages alive
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
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
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.