Vance Home Gun, a high school senior, created an organization named “Yoyoot skwkwimlt” to promote Salish, also known as Montana Salish (fla). Read an interview with Gun in “Language Preservation Made Vance Home Gun a Champion for Change.”
Archive for the ‘language revitalization’ Category
Laura Paskus has compiled a list of books and articles about language revitalization. See her “24-4 Summer 2013 “Language Revitalization” Resource Guide” on the Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education site. The article includes a link to a map of tribal colleges and universities in the US.
The awakening of the language is being led by the Chair of Endangered Languages at Adelaide University, Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who has vowed to make Adelaide a center of language revitalization.
The primary source for words is a dictionary written in the 1840s. Read more about the reawakening of Barngarla in “Pride and identity: Reviving Indigenous languages” and “Australia’s unspeakable indigenous tragedy.” Read about Ghil’ad Zuckermann in “Endangered languages have a new champion.”
The offerings are:
- Where Are Your Keys by Evan Gardner,
- Community Language Archiving by Shannon Bishoff,
- Creating Linguistic Products for Native American Languages by Colleen Fitzgerald,
- Teaching Indigenous Language Through Traditional Ecological Knowledge by Teresa Newberry,
- Topics in Native American Linguistics by Luis Barragan,
- Language Immersion and Acquisition in the Home and the Community by Jennie DeGroat, and
- Revitalizing Spiritual Traditions by Phil Cash Cash.
Promotional video by Evan Gardner:
Promotional video by Phil Cash Cash:
Te reo (the language) Māori (mri) holds a special place in language revitalization as the first language to undergo successful revitalization. Their language nest program provided a cultural framework with which to promote language use, and their model was adapted for the Hawaiian language, which has also been successful. The Māori program is therefore looked to for both practice and inspiration.
This week is Māori Language Week, running from 23 to 29 July, and 1 August will be the 25 anniversary of the Māori Language Commission. And this occasion is also bringing focus to questions that have risen recently about whether the Māori program will survive.
Read “Māori Language Week: Te reo becoming lost in translation” for an outlook of both optimism and pessimism about the future of Māori. Also, see other posts on this blog by clicking on the Māori link below.
Microsoft has created a system to assist in translation. One of their targets is language revitalization. To join the translator hub, you must sent a request that includes how you want to use the hub. See Microsoft Translator Hub for further details.
According to the Microsoft video outlining the project, the system allows formats such as .doc, .pdf, .txt and .tmx, the latter being a format used in translation.
See also “Microsoft Translator Hub Will Save Languages From Extinction” for an overview of the project.
In the field of language endangerment, a common estimate is that half of the languages living today will fall silent in this century (or over the next 100 years).
The Ethnologue counts 6,909 languages living today, and 7,000 is also a common estimate of the number of languages currently spoken.
Yet a third estimate is that a language falls silent every 14 days. But 100 years multiplied by 365 days per year and divided by 14 results in 2,607 languages.
So if 3,500 languages will die over the next 100 years, how many days is that on average? Dividing 3,500 languages by 100 years yields 35 languages per year, and dividing 365 (days/year) by 35 languages yields 10.43 days.
Given the rapid increase in efforts to stabilize and revitalize languages, there is hope that neither the 14-day or 10.43-day estimate will come true, but even so, both are averages and languages will not die in an even manner. Rather, language silence will occur in uneven clumps.
Admittedly, though, citing one language as dying every 14 days makes for good press.
Parkes East Public School is an elementary school in New South Wales, Australia. Since at least 2009, they have had a Wiradjuri (wrh) language program, and this year’s management plan shows that all children partake in that education.
According to the Ethnologue, the language is extinct, but in the video “Wiradjuri,” Lionel Lovett says he knows the language (and the children think he must be two hundred years old).
The video shows some of the education in action. In a startling reversal from the city of Parkes being “very racist” a few decades ago (according to “Our Mother Tongue: Wiradjuri“), one of the teachers interviewed in the video says that students say to him, “Oh, Mr. Wardrop, I wish I was aboriginal.”
Update: See “How a language transformed a town” for more on this topic.
Published last year, “We Are Our Language: An Ethnography of Language Revitalization in a Northern Athabaskan Community” is a volume by Barbra A. Meek, associate professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Michigan.
According to the book’s page,
The process must mend rips and tears in the social fabric of the language community that result from an enduring colonial history focused on termination. These “disjunctures” include government policies conflicting with community goals, widely varying teaching methods and generational viewpoints, and even clashing ideologies within the language community.
The language that is the focus of the book is Kaska (kkz), a language spoken in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. According to a review by Patrick Moore in last fall’s edition of Anthropological Linguistics, the book discusses how focusing on elders in revitalization alienates younger speakers.
Google previews of the book are available at “We Are Our Language.” The table of contents are:
- Ruptured: Kaska in Context
- Endangered Languages and the Process of Language Revitalization
- Growing Up Endangered
- Manufacturing Legitimate Languages
- “We Are Our Language”: The Political Discourses of Language Endangerment
- From Revitalization to Socialization: Disjuncture and Beyond
Google has teamed up with the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity to create the “Endangered Languages Project.” The Alliance includes groups and individuals interested in maintaining and revitalizing endangered languages, and has an invitation to others to join.
The ELP website includes forums for sharing information. Already, a range of videos and documents have been posted, and include information on how to plan a language documentation project and information about the Koasati Language Project.
This is a very exciting development. My thanks to Dave Sayers for the post on the Endangered Languages list that brought this to my attention.