This is the fourth in our series of posts on grants awarded by FEL in 2017.
Overview. Uchinaaguchi ( ウチナーグチ ) is the most widely-spoken of six Ryukyuan languages in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, however it is expected to disappear within a few generations unless immediate revitalisation efforts are made. Sadly, if Uchinaaguchi disappears, so too will much of the rich vocabulary and concepts specific to Okinawan cultural arts, such as karate and kobudo ( 古武道, Okinawan fighting with weapons). Therefore, in collaboration with members of the Uchinaaguchi-speaking and martial arts practitioner communities, this project will collect and develop specialised martial arts-related Uchinaaguchi terminology into an Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Handbook, thereby promoting the use of Uchinaaguchi in the domain of Okinawan martial arts. Each page of the handbook will contain one Uchinaaguchi term, proverb, or place name, as well as Japanese and English translations, an illustration, and sample sentences. In addition to providing an opportunity for Uchinaaguchi speakers to use their language, the handbook will be a tangible Uchinaaguchi learning resource that will be made accessible to Uchinaaguchi speakers and karate and kobudo practitioners in Okinawa and abroad in print and via the internet.
Grantee. This project is led by Samantha May.
Samantha was an Okinawa resident between 2009 and 2015, and holds a 2015 PhD in Comparative Culture and Area Studies from the University of the Ryukyus, with a thesis entitled Uchinaaguchi Language Reclamation in the Martial Arts Community in Okinawa and Abroad. During her doctoral studies she began compiling the Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Handbook. She also holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics and Communications from the University of the Ryukyus. She has a third degree blackbelt in Meibukan Goju Ryu, and second degree blackbelt in Shorinkai Shorin Ryu. She has spent more than ten years practicing Tesshinkan Ryukyu Kobudo, collaborating with Okinawan martial arts instructors and other Uchinaaguchi speakers. She has 15 years’ experience in language teaching, and developing language learning materials, having also worked in graphic design and social media.
This is the third in our series of posts on FEL grants awarded in 2017.
Overview. This project aims at preservation and language revitalization by creating the first dictionary for Kryz, an endangered Caucasian language spoken in the alpine villages of the Qrız, Cek, Əlik, and Hapıt in the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the 2016 census these villages had a total of 1,602 inhabitants. In order to create a modern trilingual (Kryz-Azerbaijani-English) electronic dictionary, data on Kryz words will be collected during fieldwork and translated in Azerbaijani and English. The dictionary will be supplemented with audiovisual recordings to indicate the correct pronunciations of individual words. The end product will then be uploaded on to a dedicated website. Scholars and researchers, the Kryz people, and the world community will have free access to this content.
Grantee. This project is led by Elnur Aliyev.
Elnur holds BA and MA qualifications in Areal Linguistics and Caucasian Philology from Tbilisi State University. From 2015 he has been enrolled in the PhD programme there working on The position of the Khinalug language among Dagestanian languages. In 2016-17 he was a visiting researcher at Malmö University, Sweden. Since 2010, he has made research visits to different scientific centres, libraries, and archives of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Dagestan (Russian Federation), Turkey, and Sweden, working on endangered Caucasian languages of Azerbaijan.
This is the third in our series of posts on grants FEL awarded in 2017.
Overview. Mapuzugun is an endangered indigenous language currently spoken by around 120,000 people (45,000 fluently) in southern Chile and Argentina. Throughout 2017, the Mapuzuguletuaiñ team of language activists organised language camps in rural areas of southern Chile where the language is still spoken, funded by FEL. Each camp consisted of an intensive schedule of language classes and immersion activities, including traditional Mapuche games. The aims of the camps were to create spaces where Mapuzugun is the default language of interaction, to improve the Mapuzugun proficiency of participants, and to foster a network of (neo-)speakers who interact with each other in Mapuzugun. An additional aim was for younger learners of the language to interact with fluent older speakers who live locally, thereby making the most of a small time window that exists when fluent first-language speakers still exist and there is a group of learners (mostly in their twenties) enthusiastic to learn from them.
Grantee. This project is led by Robbie Felix Penman.
Robbie completed an MA in Language Documentation and Description at SOAS, University of London, in 2016. On his third trip to South America in 2015, he researched the officialisation of Mapuzugun and the language policies of NGOs, for a course in language revitalisation and for my dissertation, respectively. He also presented at a SOAS conference on Mapuzugun revitalisation in connection to the so-called “Mapuche conflict”. Since finishing his MA he has been living in southern Chile, where he has been working on language revitalisation, particularly by advising the Ministry of Education on language pedagogy for Chesungun, the variety of Mapuzugun spoken in Osorno province. He speaks fluent Spanish and some basic Mapuzugun, as well as having a Trinity certificate in English teaching and professional experience in TESOL and translation. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the Mapuzuguletuaiñ team of Mapuche language activists.
This is the second grant that FEL awarded in 2017.
Overview. From 2013 to 2018, the grantee, Laura Arnold, carried out a major documentation project on Ambel, an endangered Austronesian language spoken in West Papua province, Indonesia. On the basis of materials collected in that project, she worked with members of the Ambel community to produce a trilingual dictionary (Ambel-Papuan Malay-English), with reversal entries. In this FEL project, she plans to publish and print the dictionary in a hardback format so that it will be durable, and travel to the Ambel villages to present the text to the local community. She will also organise workshops that will instruct the Ambel on the correct usage of the dictionary, and encourage its use in classroom activities targeted at younger members of the community.
Grantee. This project is led by Laura Arnold.
Laura is a British Academy post-doctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh working on Synchronic and diachronic investigations in Raja Ampat-South Halmahera, a little-known subbranch of Austronesian. For her PhD project she documented and described Ambel, an Austronesian language spoken in the Raja Ampat archipelago, Indonesia, and spent over a year living in Ambel villages. She has also worked with speakers of a range of other languages, such as Dogri, Luo, and Mee. In 2018 she wrote a FEL blog post about how our current research can tell us things about the past histories of communities. She loves the social and intellectual aspects of documentation work, and is particularly keen to help to preserve the wonderful linguistic diversity of our planet while the opportunity is still available.