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The Endangered Language Fund was founded in 1996 and has been providing grants to individual researchers, tribes, and museums, with the goal of supporting language documentation and preservation projects.  Looking through their list of “Language Legacies Project” grants awarded over the years demonstrates not only how geographically diverse (and numerically daunting) critically endangered languages are, but also how intelligently and creatively individuals can be when confronting the problem of language loss.

In honor of the fine work of the Fund and its grantees, today’s Pop Quiz focuses on the grants awarded in 2013.  (Try not to click over and cheat!)

Question – In which countries will the work of these grants be conducted?

  1. “The Hupa Language Materials Project”, which will help digitize existing documentation and produce new digital media productions in the Hupa language, which has fewer than five native speakers remaining?
  2. A project to generate a trilingual ethnobotanical database in French, English, and Ménik, the language of the Bedik people?
  3. A project to build a vocabulary corpus and audio recordings in the understudied Zihuateutla Totonac language?
  4. A project to record naturally-occurring speech patterns in conversation in the Cahuilla language, a member of the Uto-Aztecan family?
  5. A study of the current status of the severely endangered Bantu language known as Dhaiso?
  6. “An Introduction to Linguistics for Community Members of Valley Zapotec”?
  7. A project to document the Xikrin dialect of a language (sometimes called Kayapó), which will include interviewing speakers who were born before contact with Western civilization?

BONUS: The project titled “Phonetic Features of Hatkoy” will be conducted with speakers of a dialect of the East Circassian language.  Originally native to the North Caucasus region, this dialect is now only spoken in diaspora, and is under pressure from which dominant language?

 

Answers:

  1. The US.  The Hupa (or Hoopa) tribe lives in northern California.
  2. Senegal, near the Senegal-Guinea border.
  3. The Puebla State of Mexico.
  4. The US, in the mountains and valleys of southern California.
  5. This study will be conducted by visiting five villages in northeastern Tanzania.
  6. This work will be the culmination of a five week field trip to Oaxaca State, Mexico.
  7. Mato Grosso state in central Brazil.

BONUS: Turkish.  Due to the large number of diaspora Circassians in Turkey, the Turkish state broadcasting company has aired programs in a dialect of Circassian for ten years.

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Take a look at the descriptions for each of the 2013 grantees – if you’re anything like me you’ll find them pretty inspirational!  And if you do feel inspired, maybe consider supporting the fund!

 

Copyright Allison Taylor-Adams.  See About for details.