Wisconsin woman creates app to help preserve the Hmong language – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-09-13 13:02:24 –

Milwaukee — Annie Van was two years old when her family came to the United States as refugees.

Like many Hmong people now living in the United States, Annie and her parents have been expelled from their cultural homes in Laos. After the Hmong supported the United States in the Vietnam War.

“They left everything behind to try to live the American dream to start a new life here,” Van said of her parents.

Annie Van

When refugees fled Laos after the war, the Hmong were historically oral and only recently became Written, so stories and history were lost.

“Everything was lost centuries ago, especially because it wasn’t written down during the war,” Van said.

After leaving Laos, Van’s family lived in a refugee camp in Vietnam before moving to Iowa. Growing up, she lived in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and traveled all over the country.

Annie Van and her parents in Vietnam

Annie Van

Today, California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are the states with the largest Hmong population in the United States.

Van recalls feeling the need to assimilate when he grew up in his new home. But at the same time, she began to lose the connection between her mother tongue and her history.

“I grew up in the United States, and because the first language spoken here was English, I grew up and started losing my Hmong American identity, and I couldn’t communicate,” she said. ..

So she decided to take the opportunity and skills to live in the United States to reconnect to her roots. She is currently an iOS app developer and web developer, HmongPhrases She updated the app in the summer of 2021 to add more features.

“We found that there was a gap, and we wanted to be able to maintain the language so that when the younger generation started leaving us, the younger generation could talk to the older generation,” he said. Vang talked about his motivation for creating apps. ..

The HmongPhrases app has several different sections such as phrases, words, sounds, flashcards and more. Annie recorded her voice for the app to help users learn the correct pronunciation. The app also includes both green and white Hmong dialects.

Screenshots of HmongPhrases


She said it was important to preserve and record the Hmong language. “It’s important for the purpose of identity and we can communicate. We need to tell our story.”

Van also wants non-native speakers to use the app to learn more about Hmong culture.

“I find it really exciting when non-native Hmong speakers tell me it because they feel they are learning and curious. And I have learned I want to teach and share anything, “she said.

She also has a Hmong cooking app, Yumaholic, She developed as another way to help preserve and share her culture.She also shares her recipes YouTube channel..

Screenshot of Yumaholic


“I just teach Hmong recipes and Southeast Asian recipes,” Van said. “It’s the same purpose as creating the HmongPhrases app.

Both apps help her connect with her history and keep more than 260,000 Hmong Americans nationwide and nearly 50,000 here in Wisconsin in touch with their roots.

“I wanted a recipe and language app that was easy to share and connectable, created using the skills I discovered and learned here in the United States.”

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Sarah McGrew of TMJ4 first reported this story.

Wisconsin woman creates app to help preserve the Hmong language Source link Wisconsin woman creates app to help preserve the Hmong language

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