Archive for the ‘Endangered languages’ Category

Videos for eight languages on Gadling

18 May 2012

Gadling, which bills itself as the “world’s top travel blog,” published a post today on eight seldom-heard languages. Each has a YouTube video to watch.

The languages include:

Local languages make headway against Filipino, English

11 May 2012

The Ethnologue lists 175 languages for the Philippines, including English (3.4 mil speakers in 2000) and Filipino (fil), the modified form of Tagalog used as an official language alongside English.

According to “Long odyssey to save Philippine languages,” one of the many languages struggling in the island nation is Ayta Magindi or Mag-indi (blx), a language reported by the Ethnologue as having 5,000 speakers and rising as of 1998. The article claims a mere 3,000 tribal members. Elder Arnel Valencia tells how he was humiliated as a child in school, where only English and Filipino were acceptable.

With the new school year beginning next month, 12 local languages will be taught in schools, as a result of a program launched by linguist Diane Dekker in 1987. The results of that program showed that children performed better in students if they were provided with instruction in their native tongue.

According to “Good or not? DepEd to use 12 languages for June classes,” this move by the Department of Education is part of the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education program, and the languages are:

The hope is that implementation of this program will be successful and lead to implementation in more languages.

Finding the Words

10 May 2012

CBC recently ran a fourteen-part series on languages in southern Alberta. Called “Finding the Words,” the audio broadcasts cover languages such as Blackfoot (bla), Tsuu T’ina or Sarcee (srs) and Stoney (sto).

Topics include why languages are falling silent, how native language use correlates to lower suicide rates, and three- and four-year-olds who have begun responding in Blackfoot after being taught by elder Beverly Hungry Wolf in a preschool program.

Ktunaxa on the Internet

4 May 2012

Two days ago, Al Jazeera posted a great story on how the Ktunaxa are using the Internet and the FirstVoices website to revitalize their language, Kutenai (kut). It includes a 22-minute video. Canada: The Ktunaxa 

Wangka Maya in the news

12 September 2011

Wangka Maya, a language center in Pilbara, recently celebrated their 24th anniversary which was written up in the Pilbara Echo.

Pilbara is a region in the state of Western Australia, home to 31 languages.

Double shift in language with shift in political events

20 June 2011

Spoken on a long archipelago of small islands south of the main islands of Japan, Okinawan (family) is a language family comprising two to eleven languages (depending on who you ask).

In the post “Language revitalization and liberation,” Ingrid Piller describes how language has been used in Okinawa as a political statement, and how a switch occurred from Okinawan to Japanese with the occupation of the US army after World War II.

For more information about Okinawa, see the International Association of Ryûkyûan/Okinawan Studies (IAROS).


June calendar

30 May 2011

From the June calendar:

13-24 – US – Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages (2011)
20-July 1 – US – NILI Summer Institute 2011
27-29 – Canada – 2011 Athabaskan Languages Conference

It appears that the National Native Language Revitalization Summit will not be taking place this year.

Update: the summit will be taking place. See “National Native Language Revitalization Summit on June 22” on this blog.

May Calendar

28 April 2011

Here are the events on the calendar for May. Admin note: The perpetual calendar has been updated so each month is now on a different page.

1 – Indonesia – Submission deadline – International Seminar on Language Maintenance and Shift (2011)
1 – Canada – Submission deadline – International Conference on Salish and Neighboring Languages – 46th ICSNL (2011)
9-14 – UK – Endangered Languages Week (2011)
16 – Abstract deadline for Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory 3 (2011)
20-22 – US – 18th Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium (2011)

Charmorro CDs for sale

22 April 2011

To the east of the Philippines lie the Mariana Islands, the southernmost of which is Guam, a territory of the US. The language of the Marianas is Chamorro (cha), but it is being replaced by English. According to Wikipedia, there are about 47,000 speakers of Chamorro. The language is taught at the University of Guam, which even holds a Chamoru Language Competition.

In 2007, mainland US resident and Guam-born Rose Topasna Howard recorded songs in Chamorro and purchased 500 copies of the CD. Said to have a soothing voice, her songs became popular in Guam, reaching the number one spot in Guam in 2010.

See “Port Orchard woman’s music a hit in Guam” for more information, including instructions on how to order a copy of “Metgot Na Sinente” and an interview of Howard.

To learn Chamorro, see “Chamorro Dictionary” and “Dictionary and Grammar of the Chamorro Language of the Island of Guam.”

Talk: riverine Ahtna

21 April 2011

Two ways to give directions in English are in terms of the points of the compass (north, south, east and west) and in terms of the speaker’s body (frontward, backward, left and right). In Hawaiian (haw), the word mauka means “toward the mountain” and makai means “toward the sea.”

Other languages use directions according to the flow of a river (upriver, downriver). One such language is Ahtna (aht), spoken in the Copper River area of Alaska. Four stems showing this riverine system in Ahtna are found in the paper “A theory is only as good as the data: casting a wide net in Kabardian and Ahtna documentation” by Ayla B. Applebaum and Andrea L. Berez:

  • nae’ — upriver, behind
  • daa’ — downriver
  • ngge’ — from water, upland
  • tsen — toward water, lowland

Berez is giving a talk on this system on May 26, 2011, in Santa Barbara, California. The title of the talk is “Directional Reference in Ahtna: Endangered Language, Endangered Geographic Knowledge.”

The Ethnologue gives 35 speakers of Ahtna as of 2000 while Wikipedia gives 80 speakers spread over four dialects. To learn Ahtna words, see “Ahtna Noun Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide,” updated last month by John E. Smelcer.