Archive for the ‘news in brief’ Category

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.”

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.”

News in Brief: Ojibwe conference big success, Indigenous teacher agreement, indigenous speaker population increase in Mexico

4 May 2011

According to “Big turnout for Ojibwe conference,” the third annual Ojibwe (oji) conference “Our Language is Our Culture” was a great success. With 90 people in attendance, the conference was extended from one to three days and covered such topics as technology and learning styles.

According to an article on Market Wire, three educational organizations in Canada are set to sign a memorandum of understanding on May 6 as a basis for working more closely on Indigenous educational issues. The three parties are: ABCDE (the Association of British Columbia Deans of Education); IAHLA (the Indigenous Adult Higher Learning Association (IAHLA), and FNESC (the First Nations Education Steering Committee).

In “Is the number of speakers of indigenous languages in Mexico increasing?” Geo-Mexico reports that yes, the number is increasing. According to the article, while the number of indigenous speakers who cannot speak Spanish decreased slightly, the number of people speaking an indigenous language has decreased from 5.3 million in 1990 to 6.0 in 2000 to 6.7 in 2010. Nahuatl (family) is given as the indigenous language with the largest population, though that might be misleading as Wikipedia lists 29 Nahuan languages. It may be that language varieties generally considered as different languages are being bundled up as “Nahuatl.”

News in brief: Circassian in Jordan, LSA letter to Obama

4 May 2011

1. Circassian Language Maintenance In Jordan

After a century of fighting, the 1864 victory of Russia in the Russian-Circassian War meant annexation by a Christian nation in the Caucasus where many had converted to Islam several generations earlier. Over the next half of a century, between two and three million Circassians were either forced to leave or left voluntarily, resettling in nearby areas.

One of the areas where the Circassians settled is now known as Jordan, a country that gained independence in 1946. While the Circassians are today in danger of losing their language, classes are now available and an International Circassian Cultural Academy was established in 2010.

Read the report (with several videos) “Circassian language maintenance in Jordan: Self-identification, attitudes, policies and practices as indicators of minority language maintenance” by Ulle Rannut. Wikipedia and the Ethnologue treat Circassian as two languages, Adyghe (ady) and Kabardian (kbd).

2. The LSA urges signing of Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization

On April 15, the Linguistic Society of America sent a letter to US President Obama urging him to sign the “Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization.” The Order was drafted by Obama’s staff members in association with Native American representatives.

The purpose of the Order is to put into effect the “Native American Languages Act” (P.L. 102-524) and the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act of 2006” (P.L. 109-394). The Order reads, in part:

It is the policy of the federal government to revitalize, and protect the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages to ensure their survival. The federal government shall recognize Native American languages as irreplaceable and integral to the national character. Native languages fulfill a vital role in maintaining cultural traditions and values, family protocols, social cohesion, sacred knowledge, and spiritual continuity.

American residents can e-mail President Obama urging him to sign the Order at Contact the White House. Anyone can write him or telephone his office as noted on that page.

News in Brief: High school students in New Zealand and Lithuania, languages on Wikipedia

20 April 2011

19 Saskatchewan students to visit New Zealand on cultural exchange, trip to include Māori (mri) language learning centers:  ‘Chance of a lifetime’ awaits N.Z.-bound Oskayak students

High school graduate to study status of Karaim (kdr): Endangered Language Research Project

Some endangered languages have a relatively large number of Wikipedia articles: The Linguistic Geography of the WikipediaEndangered Languages and the Wikipedia

From the blogosphere

19 April 2011

From Endangered Languages Media Watch: Post “Elar’s David Nathan writes for The Mark” — “We’ve come a long way in documenting the 90 per cent of languages facing extinction, but rescuing them is another story.”

From Talking Alaska: Post “Commission on Alaska Native Languages” — Meeting tomorrow in Anchorage.

From the blogosphere

16 April 2011

There is a new speaker of Delaware (del): A New Lenape Speaker! at SAIVUS

Native American Language Fair attracts more than 600 students: Oklahoma Native youth language fair on Pictographs.

Revitalization movement trying to save Breton (bre): Language News:Bretons fight to save language from extinction – CNN.com on the LingEducator Blog

News in Brief: Brown bag at UNM, Xibe revival, WA conference

12 April 2011

Brown bag lunch at the University of New Mexico on April 13, Wednesday, focused on the Americas. ‘Indigenous Planning in the Americas’ Focus of Presentation

Xibe (sjo) revival in China. Video in English after Xibe lead-in. Xibe is related to Manchu (mnc) and employs the same writing script. Revival of a dying language

The Western Australia State Language Conference is now in progress. Irra Wangga

News in Brief: Promoting Aboriginal Languages Month, Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, Linguistic Diversity Index

5 March 2011

March is Aboriginal Languages Month in Canada, and the Northwest Territories Literacy Council has put together a booklet to help, particularly for languages in the Northwest Territories. The nine aboriginal languages of the NWT are: Chipewyan (chp); Cree (cre); Gwich’in (gwi); Western Canadian Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, and Inuinnaqtun (all ikt); North Slavey and South Slavey (scs and xsl), and Tåîchô or Dogrib (dgr).

Volume 2 of the Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity series is scheduled to be released this month by Oxford University Press. Titled “The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts,” it is edited by Joshua Fishman and Ofelia Garcia. The 37 new essays look at such issues as language versus dialect, government policy and the case of how Canaanite was supplanted by Hebrew (hbo) in ancient times. See also volume 1.

David Harmon and Jonathan Loh have developed an index of linguistic diversity (ILD). They have given presentations on their index as well as published a paper. The paper is in Language Documentation & Conservation, and may be downloaded from the 2010 volume 4 page. This news inspired by the article “Language Diversity Index Tracks Global Loss of Mother Tongue,” which has a lot of information on the topic and endangered languages in general.

News in Brief: “The Young Ancestors” Film, LDLT3, Indigenous Language Student Brief, Languages in Columbia

28 February 2011

The Young Ancestors” is a film in progress about a small group of Native Americans who are learning their heritage language Tewa (tew). Currently in the post-production stage, the project is raising funds to complete the film. Inspired by a post Posed on Womanist Musings.

The Website for Language Documentation & Linguistic Theory 3 is now up. With a theme of “‘Empirical methodologies that drive forward theory building,” the conference will be held November 19 to 20 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK. If you can, arrange an extra day, November 18, for the Workshop on Language Documentation and Archiving.

Heritage Languages in America has produced a brief titled “Indigenous Language Students from Spanish-Speaking Countries: Educational Approaches.” Written by Hannah Pick, Walt Wolfram, and Jacqueline López, the brief overviews situations in which Latin American immigrant children in the US transition from their home language to English, losing their native tongue. Contrary to common perceptions, some do not speak Spanish.

In conjunction with International Mother Language Day, the Ministry of Culture of Columbia released a report (English) on February 21 listing five languages as nearly extinct because there are less than 60 speakers. The languages are: Carijona (cbd), PisamiraTinigua (tit), with only one speaker, Nonuya and Totoro (ttk). Of the approximately 70 languages in Columbia, about half have less than 1000 speakers. Inspired by the mini-post at Native Strength and “Five Colombian Indigenous Languages ‘Nearly Extinct,’” a post with a map of Columbia on the Indian Country Today Media Network.