LINGUIST List 13.2977

Sat Nov 16 2002

FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grants Announced

Editor for this issue: James Yuells <>


  1. Doug Whalen, FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grants for 2002

Message 1: FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grants for 2002

Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 12:18:07 -0500
From: Doug Whalen <>
Subject: FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grants for 2002

Status: RO

Twelve ELF Grants Awarded in 2002
The Endangered Language Fund is pleased to announce its grants for 
2002. There were some coincidences in the number this year. We had 
50 applications, 25 from U. S. institutions and 25 from others. We 
were able to fund 12 in total, and half were from U. S. institutions. 
As you will see, much of the work (even for the U. S.-based 
proposals) happens to be outside the U. S. this year. The rich and 
relatively undescribed Amazonian area received some deserved 
attention. Five proposals deal with South American languages, while 
four are based in North America. The others bring in Europe, Asia 
(Siberia) and the Pacific (Papua New Guinea). Once again, it was a 
difficult task to select such a small number from such an impressive 
pool of proposals. It is only thanks to the generosity of our 
members that we are able to offer these grants at all. So, thanks to 
all of you who have donated; please visit our website for more 
information on joining the ELF 

Valerio Luciani Ascencio (Kawki) - Preservation of the Kawki 
language. Luciani is the youngest fluent speaker of Kawki, a Jaqui 
language of Peru. Luciani spoke Kawki until he went to school, where 
he was forced to switch to Spanish. "This seemed very strange to me 
and I felt very sad because I did not use my own language. Thus, 
little by little, I was forgetting it, and I liked Spanish," Luciani 
writes. Today, he is teaching about 40 children in Cachuy. His ELF 
grant will purchase supplies and printing for the materials that he 
uses in these classes. The material will help, but the largest 
contribution will continue to come form Luciani's own efforts.

Susan Doty (Creek Tribe) - Muskogee Creek language traditional song 
preservation. The songs used in Creek Indian churches are part of a 
strong tradition, but these days, the songbooks are getting smaller 
and smaller. The more complicated, meaningful songs are being lost 
to simpler, repetitive tunes that are easier to learn. Doty will use 
her ELF grant to visit as many churches in Oklahoma as possible, 
recording songs in a clear, strong voice so that the words are easier 
to learn.

Thomas McIlwraith, Regina Louie, Angela Dennis and Sally Havard 
(Iskut First Nations) - Talking to the animals: Tahltan-language 
animal stories and forms of address. Tahltan is a critically 
endangered Athapaskan language spoken by fewer than one hundred 
adults in British Columbia. The texts that will be collected in this 
project will serve linguistic, ethnolinguistic and pedagogical goals, 
supporting the existing efforts in the schools and bring more 
awareness to the community at large.

Maximilian Viatori (U. California, Davis) - A practical Zapara 
phonology and morphology. Zapara is spoken in the rainforest 
province of Pastaza in eastern Ecuador. There are currently three 
fluent speakers of Zapara and several others who remember songs and 
words, but cannot converse in the language. Viatori will help 
determine possible genetic relationships and provide materials for 
the reintroduction of Zapara into the curriculum of schools in five 

Rosalind Williams (Splatsin Tribe) -- Creation of Secwepenc Wordlist 
2002. The Splatsin are one of the seventeen tribes that make up the 
Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation in British Columbia. There are sixteen 
remaining speakers fluent in the eastern dialect of this Salishan 
language, and there are four nearly fluent learners of the language 
(including Williams) who have been mentored by the elders. Their 
current word lists were found to have been documented for a single 
meaning or situation. Williams will help fill in the gaps and will 
record the fluent speakers saying the words as well.

Naomi Nagy (U. New Hampshire) - Preserving Faetar in the school. 
Faetar, a variant of the Francoproven�al, is a language spoken in two 
small, mountaintop villages in southern Italy: Faeto and Celle St. 
Vito. Because of a small migration from eastern France to southern 
Italy about 600 years ago, Francoproven�al survives as Faetar. Nagy 
will help develop an orthography to allow Faetar to gain a foothold 
in the schools and help keep it alive within the community.

Chris Beier and Lev Michael (U. Texas, Austin) - Iquito language 
documentation project. The last remaining Iquito community is San 
Antonio in the Amazon Basin of Peru. Recently, the community has 
developed a serious interest in starting a language revitalization 
project. In cooperation with Cabeceras, a US-based group dedicated 
to providing resources to indigenous Amazonian communities in 
defending their health, well-being, and autonomy, Beier and Michael 
have devised a revitalization program. They will simultaneously 
document the language and train the speakers themselves as linguists, 
allowing work to continue at a scale not possible for outsiders.

Gessiane Lobato Pican�o (U. British Columbia) - Documentation of 
Kuruaya, a moribund language of Brazil. Kuruaya, a language of the 
Munduruku family of Tupi stock, has only five elderly speakers 
remaining, and they no longer use Kuruaya in their daily lives. 
Since the description of the language is so sketchy, basic work with 
word lists, texts and paradigms will be undertaken first. Copies of 
all material will be made available to the Kuruaya people , local 
institutions and other collaborators.

Nikolai Vakhtin (European U. at St. Petersburg) - Siberian Yupik 
Eskimo conversation book. When Yupik Eskimo was introduced into the 
Siberian school curriculum in the 1930s, all the children spoke it as 
their mother tongue and had only to learn how to write and read it. 
After 60 years of demographic, social and economic pressure, formal 
education, and residential schooling, the situation has changed 
drastically. Now, school-age children speaker almost only Russian 
and learn their ethnic language at school as a foreign language from 
teachers who themselves often do not know the language very well. 
The language situation is somewhat better on the U.S. side of the 
Bering Strait, where most children on St. Lawrence Island now speak 
the language. With the lifting of the Iron Curtain, it is now 
possible for Yupiks to visit their relatives on either side. 
Ironically, the only common language now is Yupik, even though the 
Russians speak it haltingly or only listen to it. This unexpected 
promotion of Yupic to the status of an international language 
contributes considerably to its prestige and has spurred the Siberian 
Yupiks to learn it better. Vakhtin proposes to take material from 
his 30 years of work on the language to make booklets for those who 
are traveling to the U.S. and are now in need of a "Berlitz" for 

Pamela Bunte and Nikole Lobb (California State U., Long Beach) - 
Using San Juan Southern Paiute narratives in a language 
revitalization program. The San Juan Paiute tribe, the easternmonst 
of ten Southern Paiute tribes, is located in Arizona and Utah on the 
Navajo reservation, with about 30 of the 300 tribal members being 
fluent speakers; only one child (a four-year-old) is learning it. 
The tribe set up a language revitalization program that will include 
short immersion camps. Southern Paiute traditional narratives are 
culturally important as they express Paiute world view and 
traditional lifeways. Bunte plans to record on videotape both the 
telling of some of these stories and some dramatizations using 
puppets, both for use in the immersion camps.

Connie Dickinson (U. Oregon) - Tsafiki dictionary project. Tsafiki 
(Colorado) is spoken by about 2000 Tsachila living on seven communes 
situated at the western base of the Andes near the city of Santo 
Domingo de los Colorados in Ecuador. While the language is not in 
imminent danger and children are still learning it, the Tsachila are 
under tremendous pressure from the dominant Spanish culture, and 
their way of life is undergoing rapid change. Work on a dictionary 
has begun with the help of PIKITSA, an indigenous institution 
dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the Tsachila 
(Colorados) language and culture. The communities are looking 
forward to having a dictionary to use in their fight to maintain 
their language.

Doug Marmion (Australian National U.) - Wutung language maintenance 
and literacy development. Wutung is a small coastal village in the 
far north-west of Papua New Guinea, lying immediately adjacent to the 
border with Indonesia. Sandaun Province is an area of great 
linguistic diversity, being home to approximately 110 languages in 
eight genetically distinct families, along with three isolates. Of 
these languages, none has yet been described in detail, although 
there are partial descriptions of perhaps half a dozen. Marmion will 
collect as many texts as feasible, including those that deal with 
traditional culture, which is also threatened. Texts will be 
selected to be made into books to be printed in Australia and sent 
back for use in the school and by the general community.

The Endangered Language Fund
Dept. of Linguistics, Yale University
P. O. Box 208366
New Haven, CT 06520-8366

Language codes: COF, JQR, TAH, ZRO, SHS, FRA, IQU, KYR, ESS, UTE, WUT, CRK.

Doug Whalen (
Haskins Laboratories
270 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06511
203-865-6163, ext. 234
FAX: 203-865-8963
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