Mashco-Piro make an appearanace

20 August 2013

Last year, for unknown reasons, the Mascho-Piro killed the only person capable of interpreting between them and the rest of the world (Mashco-Piro linguistically isolated, this blog).

Voluntarily isolated, the Mascho-Piro made a rare appearance from June 24-26, asking for supplies such as rope and bananas. Their appearance may be due to increasing encroachment on the itinerant people’s territory by oil and drug interests, and the low rainfall of the season may also be a factor.

The group speaks Mascho-Piro (cuj), a language of the Piro group, which includes Yine (pib). They are among 15 groups in Peru that are prohibited by law from being contacted, primarily to protect them from disease.

See “Peru’s isolated Mashco-Piro tribe ‘asks for food,’” (has video of the Masco-Piro), “Isolated Mashco-Piro Indians appear in Peru” and “Peru’s Mashco-Piro Indians Make Tense Attempt At Contact.”

 

Australia releases draft framework for language learning

21 May 2013

As part of its Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Languages program, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has released its Draft Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages.

The draft is open for suggestions and feedback through 25 July. Read more in “Schools get guide for indigenous languages” and “Consultation of the draft Australian Curriculum.”

Call for papers: PARADISEC

19 May 2013

PARADISEC, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, has put out its second call for papers for its conference to be held 2-3 December 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Get the details here.

Pali in opera

19 May 2013

Siddhārtha Gautama, the most well known buddha, lived around the fifth century BCE. It is believed that he spoke an Indo-Aryan dialect, such as Pali (pli). Pali is also the language of many early Buddhist scriptures and the Ethnologue says there are nine second-language speakers of Pali.

In the mid-nineteenth century, opera great Richard Wagner discovered Buddhism and began work on “Die Sieger,” which incorporated Buddhist legends.

Next month, an opera titled “Wagner Dream,” an opera by Jonathan Harvey about the last day in the life of Wagner and “Die Sieger.”

While the character Wagner and other Europeans will perform in German, the Buddhist characters will sing in Pali, the words having been translated from English.

Read more in “Wagner opera to be revived in a dead language.”

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ

18 May 2013

ᓄᖃᕆᑦ is “stop,” as now found on stop signs in the Canadian territory Nunavut.

This month, the Official Languages Act came into force in Nunavat. According to the text of the law:

  • “The Inuit Language, English and French are the Official Languages of Nunavut,”
  • “To the extent and in the manner provided under this Act, the Official Languages of Nunavut have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in territorial institutions,” and
  • Priority must be given to “the revitalization of Inuinnaqtun.”

Read more in “Nunavut Official Languages Act Comes into Force.”

Australian government opens applications for funding

18 May 2013

The Australian government has allocated 12 million dollars (the AUD is currently approximately equivalent to the USD) over the next four years to support indigenous languages. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups are invited to submit applications through the end of May to receive funding from this allocation.

Emma Waterman has written an article on this opportunity with an interesting take on the need for non-computer solutions. Read “Digital Not Always the Answer.”

See also the government page “New Indigenous Languages Support funding open for applications” for information on how to apply.

Less than 10 percent of Pakistani languages are healthy

18 May 2013

One of the issues discussed at the First International Kashmir Conference on Linguistics 2013 is the decline of languages in Pakistan. Themed “Endangered Languages in Asia,” the conference was held on 15-16 May.

According to the Ethnologue, 12 of the 72 Pakistani languages are in trouble or dying.

Read more in “Conference on linguists: South Asian languages fading out: experts.”

In defense of mandatory Zulu classes

18 May 2013

isiZulu, or Zulu (zul), is the most widely spoken native language in South Africa and is spoken by about half of the population.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has announced it will make Zulu classes mandatory for incoming students, a move that has drawn criticism.

As Pierre De Vos explains in “KZN University: A storm in a (Zulu) teacup,” this policy is not unconstitutional and should not be compared to linguistic policies in the era of apartheid.

High school senior revitalizing Salish

11 May 2013

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.”

Cree broadcast wins journalism award

11 May 2013

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, has dozens of locations in Canada and around the world, including CBC North, which provides TV and radio broadcasts in languages such as Chipewyan (chp), Cree (cre), Dogrib (dgr), Gwich’in (gwi), Inuktitut (ike), Inuvialuk (ikt), North Slavey (scs) and South Slavey (xsl).

This past weekend, the Canadian Association of Journalists held their annual conference, including an awards ceremony. Among the winners was the episode “Breaking the mold,” broadcast on the Cree-language Maamuitaau program.

Learn more in the article “Serving Canada’s north – excellence in 8 aboriginal languages” on the Editor’s Blog of CBC News.


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