SYLAP Participants at a team-building event (2015)

SYLAP Participants at a team-building event (2015)

The Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program (SYLAP) is a program that introduces Shoshone high school and first-generation college students to a university setting in an accessible way with the ultimate goal of increasing their success in higher education.


The program, which was established in 2009 by Katherine Matsumoto-Gray under the direction of Marianna Di Paolo, has three main goals for students:

-to learn the Shoshoni language in a for-credit University course,

-to participating in a paid internship in Shoshoni language documentation and language teaching materials development,

-to build life-skills, and learn about higher education.

Living on campus:

SYLAP runs for six weeks during the summer (approximately June-August). First year students, “SYLAPers,” are provided free housing in the residence halls at the University of Utah.  SYLAPers are given a free meal plan that provides them with 19 meals per week and they have the option of eating at the Heritage Center or at the University of Utah Student Union on lower campus.

There are usually two Residential Advisors (RAs) who supervise the students.  The Residential Advisors supervise activities designed to broaden the SYLAPers’ life experiences and increase confidence.  Past activities include team sports; a ropes course; exploration of the local urban and rural environments; Shoshoni cultural activities such as beading, basket making, and playing handgame; college preparation meetings; and overall wellness, alcohol and drug awareness workshops.

Each week, SYLAP hosts one or two Shoshone elders or fluent Shoshoni speakers to help with teaching the Shoshoni course, as well as, in aiding the students with the various projects that they do throughout the summer.

Stephanie Tabibian and Garrett Malotte (2009) work with elder Boyd Graham.

To see participants from each year, click here.


Internship Projects Centered on Shoshoni Language Preservation and Learning:

Over the years, there have been various internship projects for the SYLAPers to complete. The projects are completed at the Shoshoni Language Project on the University of Utah campus.  The projects are supervised by Shoshoni Project research assistants under the direction of Dr. Marianna Di Paolo.

Shoshoni Talking Dictionary

The Shoshoni Talking Dictionary is an electronic dictionary that the SYLAPers help to create.  The SYLAPers are trained to elicit, record, and edit audio for new words to add to the dictionary.  The Shoshoni Talking Dictionary is used in Shoshoni tribal language programs in communities, and used by individuals.

Shoshoni Children’s storybooks and other media projects

Ranging from the illustration of traditional Shoshone stories to the creation of innovative stories, the SYLAPers create storybooks which help Shoshoni language learners and teachers master vocabulary and grammatical concepts.  Some storybooks are then adapted to videobooks with elders reading the text and other sound-effects adding to the experience.

Other first year internship projects have included creating a claymation movie; creating Shoshoni language flashcards; and, creating short Shoshoni Vocabulary Videos.

Generous funding by Barrick has enabled us to invite back previous SYLAP students to develop their skills and work independently on projects such as; collaborating with Red Butte Gardens on ethnobotany projects; creating materials for Shoshoni language Head Start programs; working on our 30,000-word Shoshoni Dictionary; creating artwork for additional storybooks; and, creating a Shoshoni language video game.







More Information about SYLAP:

The video is a short documentary by Daniel Dixon about the Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program

Watch the video below that shows images from SYLAP 2009-2013

If you have participated or have been involved with SYLAP in any way, please join our Facebook group by clicking the icon below. (This group is private and you must be approved by a moderator before you can join!)