Archive for the ‘Aleut (ale)’ Category

Aleut revival flatlining

31 May 2012

Trailing away from the southwest corner of Alaska are the Aleutian Islands that stretch out in a large, curving arc. Off their tip lie the Pribolof Islands, and northwest of the main section are the Commander Islands.

Aleut (ale), also known as Unangam Tunuu, is spoken on all of these islands, but despite revitalization efforts, the language is languishing. The Ethnologue cites 300 speakers as of 1995, which had halved by 2007 according to Wikipedia.

St. Paul is an island and city in the Pribilofs, and the language situation there is the topic of a news story, “Unangan Community Struggles to Save Language.”

This blog post was inspired by “Movement to save a dying Alaska language struggles,” which also notes that Senate Bill 130 passed into law on Monday (see “Alaska Native Language Council bill awaiting signature” on this blog).

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Alaska Languages – Continuing Award for Collaboration

17 March 2008

Last September, the NSF awarded the University of Alaska Fairbanks just over US$450,000, with Michael Krauss as principal investigator, to study 11 endangered languages in Alaska.

The languages to be studied (with Wikipedia and Ethnologue links) are: Han Athabascan (haa), Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan (kuu), Eyak (eya), Tlingit (tli), Southern Tsimshian (tsi), North Slope Inupiaq (esi), Central Alaskan Yup’ik (esu), Central Siberian Yupik (ess), Alutiiq (ems), Attuan Aleut (ale) and Kodiak Russian Creole, a language of approximately five speakers whose average age is 90 and apparently without a page on either Wikipedia or Ethnologue.

Krauss is joined by a host of prominent language researchers. Their names as well as other details of the award are detailed at “IPY – Documenting Alaskan and Neighboring Languages” as well as Veco Polar (second listing).

This blog entry was prompted by a Tundra Drums article and an EurekAlert article. The amount listed in those articles $1.2 million, and the Talking Alaska blog lists it at $1.4 million. The grant is a continuing grant, so the disparity in numbers probably reflects the way the calculation was made. (The NSF site lists three awards, totaling $1.06 million.)

To keep up with Alaskan and other endangered language issues, subscribe to  Gary Holton’s Talking Alaska blog. An article on Michael Krauss is available on Wikipedia.