Archive for the ‘North Alaskan Inupiatun (esi)’ Category

Snippets – Kawe, PNG languages disappearing, Inupiaq revitalization meetings

28 January 2011

A short article on the Huffington Post “Kep Wayag, Raja Ampat Indonesia” by James Morgan tantalizingly mentions Morgan and company documenting folk tales in the language Kawe (kgb). According to the article, Pak Lucas Ayello is the elder of Saweo Village who they were recording.

According to some sources, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum sent a team from the US to Papua New Guinea (PNG) from January 13-22. The team found that PNG languages are disappearing quickly. See “PNG language diminishing” on the Pacific Islands News Association. PNG is well known as a rich area for language diversity. The Ethnologue lists 841 languages on PNG, with 830 having speakers.

According to the Arctic Sounder, the Inupiaq Language Strategic Planning group currently has a series of meetings scheduled in Kotzebue, AK, to discuss Inupiaq (ipk) revitalization. According to the Ethnologue, Inupiaq is a term covering two varieties, North Alaskan Inupiatun (esi) and Northwest Alaska Inupiatun (esk). The meetings are open to the public.

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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.

ANLC: Pan-Alaska Resources

11 May 2007

If you want to know about a language in Alaska, the Alaska Native Language Center is the place to go. Housed in the University of Alaska Fairbanks (about 1.5 degrees south of the arctic circle mid-state), the ANLC is a research center, materials repository, promotes language revitalization and assists in the teaching of the 20 native languages of Alaska, 18 of which are not being passed on to children.

The ANLC boasts a staff of 16 and more than 10,000 story collections, dictionaries, grammars and research papers. Regular language classes are available in Central Yup’ik Eskimo (esu), Inupiaq (apparently broken up into North Alaskan Inupiatun (esi) and Northwest Alaskan Inupiatun (esk) in the Ethnologue) and Kutchin or Gwich’in (gwi) Athabascan, with other languages taught in conjunction with special topics.

A short FAQ addresses the question of whether “Eskimo” or “Inuit” is acceptable–it seems that it depends on the country. Also see that page for common expressions, orthographies, and PDF newsletters. For those Outside (and in Alaska), an impressive array of dictionaries, beginner’s texts, cassettes and more is available from their publications page.

The spark for this blog entry as well as the Dorothy Ramon Center entry comes from blogger Sophie of Finding a Voice. Thank you!

Iñupiaq/Inupiatun (esi)

11 April 2007

Roosevelt Paneak has a glossary of Iñupiaq (esi) words. This language is spoken at the northern extremities of the world, where the word for November means sunset (Nippivik wanes into Siqiñaatchiaq).

This citation is taken from the Tulugaq (“raven” in Iñupiaq) blog by Alaskan (and current Texan) Linda Lanz. Her blog includes an interesting map showing where Iñupiaq is spoken.

Also check out the SIL Iñupiaq online dictionary on the Alaskool site from the 1970 publication Iñupiat Eskimo Dictionary by Donald H. Webster and Wilfried Zibell .

Another good resource for learning Iñupiaq is the website of radio station KNBA, featuring a Native word of the day plus archives!

A special mention goes to The Plants of My People, written by Cheryl Ann Wood/Kylee Bautnuq Punguk, an ethnobotany complete with Native, English and Latin designations and accompanying photographs. This book does not appear to be available for sale.