LINGUIST List 8.1405

Thu Oct 2 1997

FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grant Awards

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. whalen, FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grant Awards, 1997

Message 1: FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grant Awards, 1997

Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 14:53:24 -0400
From: whalen <>
Subject: FYI: Endangered Language Fund Grant Awards, 1997

The Endangered Language Fund is pleased to announce the recipients of
our first round of grant awards. The Endangered Language Fund is a US
nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of
languages that are threatened with extinction. Through the generosity
of our members, we are able to promote work that would otherwise go
undone. This year's ten grants were selected from a competitive field
of more than 50 proposals, all with the goal of helping to stem the
tide of language loss.

The projects are:
 Production of original television dramas in Choctaw and Creek.
Awarded to Alice Anderton of the Intertribal Wordpath Society. This
project will produce two dramas starring native speakers of these two
Native American languages, which are currently spoken in Oklahoma.
Captioned versions will be shown on cable access channels, and
videotapes will be made available to the native speakers thoughout the
 Making a rediscovered manuscript useful to the Comanche
community. Awarded to Ronald Red Elk, Comanche Language and Cultural
Preservation Committee. In 1996, a manuscript dictionary of Comanche,
containing over 4,000 entries, was discovered in the Smithsonian.
With the help of the Endangered Language Fund grant, this work will be
combined with other sources and corrobarted with the remaining
speakers of Comanche, so that future generations will have as complete
a record of the language as possible.
 Recording the last two speakers of Klamath. Janne Underriner,
University of Oregon. As with many Native American languages, only
the oldest members of the Klamath tribe can still speak the language.
Younger members of the tribe have come to realize that this is truly
their last chance to know this important part of their heritage. With
the aid of this work by a professional linguist, the Klamath hope to
preserve what they can.
 Further work on the Tohono O'odham (Papago) Dictionary
Project. Awarded to Ofelia Zepeda, University of Arizona and member
of the Tohono O'odham Nation. This language is still the first
language of most tribal members over the age of 25, but children are
less likely to learn it. When completed, the extensive dictionary
will help reinforce the language skills of young parents and be a
permanent resource to native speakers and others interested in the
 Recording the last fluent speakers of Kuskokwim in Alaska.
Awarded to Andrej Kibrik, University of Alaska. This little-studied
Athabaskan language is down to three households which use it
regularly. The lingustic work will aid in the teaching of the younger
generation, especially through the audio recordings that will give a
much better sense of the feel of the language than written sources
 Preserving Yuchi, a Native American isolate. Awarded to Mary
Linn, University of Kansas. Only nineteen fluent speakers remain of
the Yuchi language. Once they are gone, the Yuchi tribe will be
unable to learn more of their heritage, and linguists will be unable
to solve the mystery of the last remaining language isolate of the
Eastern US. Linn's dissertation work will help on both fronts.
 Work on the Wasur languages of Indonesia. Awarded to Mark
Donohue, University of Manchester. Language data collection will be
conducted for several languages in a region that has only recently
been officially recognized as a distinct ethnic region.
 Immersion programs in Micmac, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy.
Awarded to Karen Somerville, Gakeemaneh/Gignamoane, New Brunswick.
The speakers of these Eastern Algonquian languages have joined forces
to try to further the use of the languages by the young. The ELF
grant will help purchase equipment for several language immersion
programs that are being developed.
 Han language documentation project. Awarded to Gary Holton,
University of California, Santa Barbara. Han, an Alaskan Athabaskan
language, has only a handful of native speakers, only one of whom is
younger than sixty. This language is unusual in having preserved all
four consonant series of proto- Athabaskan, yet it has only recently
been recognized as a separate language. Holton's dissertation work
will help solidify its position.
 Preparing language materials for Jingulu of Australia.
Awarded to Rob Pensalfini, MIT. Only about ten fluent speakers remain
of this language, which is situated in the region between two major
language families. Influences of both those families appear in the
language, giving it many unique characteristics. Texts and a
dictionary are being prepared, and the schools there are ready to make
use of them.
 These grants totalled $10,000 in awards and were made possible
only because of the generosity of our members. We would like to take
this opportunity to thank them on behalf of the grant recipients.
 For more information about the Endangered Language 
Fund, please write:

 Endangered Language Fund
 Department of Linguistics
 Yale University
 New Haven, CT 06520
 Or visit our web site:
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