Foundation for Endangered Languages

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5. Allied Societies and Activities

New EBLUL Member State Committee in Portugal

Brussels, 2 May 2002
What happened last weekend in Miranda de Douro in Portugal was no obvious event: a new Member State Committee (MSC) of the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL) was established on the International Symposium on European languages and legislation.

Some countries in the European Union still hesitate to acknowledge their linguistic minorities. Even though most of them have signed and ratified official agreements to safeguard and promote these languages, the practical implementation often lags behind. ‘It also does not seem morally right that the EU should request Candidate Countries to uphold a standard on minority rights which some EU- Member States do not fulfil’, says Bojan Brezigar, President of EBLUL. ‘Therefore it’s important that the EU Member States should regulate the situation on the linguistic minorities in their own country before they face the enlargement of the Union and the complex minority situations in the new joiners.’

‘With this, and the long and difficult process of establishing a MSC in Greece in January 2002, EBLUL now has national representation in all Member States of the European Union,’ says Brezigar.

The announcement of a new MSC in Portugal was made by Amadeu José Ferrira, President of the Associacon de Lhengua Mirandes (Association for the Mirandese Language) and Domingos Raposo from the Teacher Association, on behalf of different organisations representing Mirandese. They agreed in the presence of the Presidents of EBLUL’s MSC from Italy, Spain, Great Britain and Germany to take the necessary administrative steps to join EBLUL.

Mirandese is spoken by around 12,000 people in the province of Breganza in northeastern Portugal, close to the Spanish border. It has been an official language in Portugal since September 17th 1998, when the national Parliament approved a new law recognising it. Since recognition, the language has been protected and is taught in local schools. It is also used at some levels in administration and in the Assembly of the Republic.

Rue Saint-Josse 49/Sint-Jooststraat 49
B-1210 Bruxelles/Brussel

The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme — a major new research programme for the documentation of endangered languages.

_?The Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund has initiated a programme of grants to support the documentation of endangered languages, and has appointed the School of Oriental & African Studies, London University [SOAS] to administer the scheme. The prospective Invitation to Apply, which is likely to be disseminated in early September, will contain full guidelines and contact details for any further inquiries. In the interim, no further details will be made available and prospective applicants are requested to avoid contacting SOAS with inquiries.

The purpose of this announcement is to indicate the rationale of the programme and enable potential applicants to begin considering the details of their possible proposals.

The rationale of such a programme will be familiar to potential applicants: the pace at which languages are becoming extinct is increasing throughout the world. Furthermore, since only about one-third of the world’s languages have literate traditions, the vast majority of languages which die will leave no substantial record of themselves, or the cultural traditions that they have sustained. Quite apart from the loss of individual cultural expressions, this process reflects a grave diminution in human and cultural diversity and a loss of the knowledge on which they are based and which they embody.

The objective of the present programme is to support the documentation of as many threatened languages as possible, focused on where the danger of extinction is greatest, facilitating the preservation of culture and knowledge, and creating repositories of data for the linguistic and social sciences. Such documentation should, therefore, have regard not only to the formal content and structure of languages, but also to the varied social and cultural contexts within which languages are used. In addition to the intellectual quality of applications, principal grounds for support will be the degree of endangerment and the urgency of the issues.


Applications will be invited from researchers - who might include suitably qualified research students or postdoctoral candidate, as well as senior and established academics - with qualifications in and, ideally, experience of field linguistics. It is anticipated that all applicants will have, or will have developed in advance of funding, a formal link with (preferably an established position in) a university or comparable research institution.

The core of the programme will probably be grants to support more or less elaborate projects for the documentation of individual or closely related endangered languages, involving one or more researchers and receiving support for up to three or, in exceptional circumstances four, years. However, individuals (including suitably qualified research students and postdoctoral fellows) may apply for grants.

In the first instance applicants will be expected to submit a relatively brief Summary Proposal Form. These will be assessed and those which appear to conform to the programme’s expectations as to importance and quality will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

It is anticipated that in this first ‘round’ the date for submission of Summary Proposals will be mid-October 2002; invitations to submit detailed applications will be despatched in late November 2002; and the closing date for detailed applications will be early January 2003.

Detailed applications will have to conform to a variety of standards (including ethical and technical standards), which will be specified in the formal Invitation to Apply on or about 1 September. Meanwhile, potential applicants are requested not to contact SOAS.

Terralingua Job Announcements - Program Associate, Office Manager/Assistant

Terralingua, a small non-profit organization based in Washington DC, is hiring a Program Associate to assist with program implementation and organizational development.



Through research, information sharing and advocacy, Terralingua seeks to protect cultural, linguistic and biological diversity around the world. The organization is currently going through a rapid transition from a virtual network of volunteers to an organization with a small paid staff and an office in Washington.

The Program Associate position will be either part-time or full-time, depending on funding and candidate qualifications. The program associate will contribute to an innovative program of research on global patterns of diversity and indicators for assessing the variety and status of the world's cultures and languages The results of this work will be used to advocate revisions to current policy and legal practices around the world. As a member of a small staff, the program associate will also assist with fundraising, financial management, administrative tasks, project design, and strategic planning for the organization Additionally, the Program Associate may be responsible for day-to-day oversight of programs and the Terralingua office for extended periods of time. The individual will work closely with the organization's president, as well as partners and collaborators from academic institutions, government agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations from around the world. This is an unusual opportunity to contribute to research and policy advocacy on emerging issues at the crossroads of several traditional disciplines, while gaining practical experience in all aspects of non-profit program development and management. The successful candidate must be self-motivated, comfortable working closely with others in a team, and committed both to rigorous scientific research and to the application of research results to achieve positive social change. He or she will enjoy interdisciplinary work with a variety of collaborators from different cultures and parts of the world; will possess strong written and oral communication skills; will be highly organized and capable of managing and setting priorities among many pressing and important tasks during the course of a typical day; and will be comfortable handling the logistical, administrative and financial duties involved in helping to run a small organization. A master's or doctorate in anthropology or linguistics is preferred, with experience in conservation biology or related disciplines also valued. Fluency in English required, and competence in at least one other language strongly desired. Experience managing projects also desirable. There may be significant travel, including international travel, after the first year. Full-time salary in the high 20s or low 30s (with benefits), depending on experience. Salaries are expected to increase as additional funding is secured. Terralingua is an equal opportunity employer.

The Office Manager/Assistant position will be either part-time or full-time, depending on funding and candidate qualifications.As office manager, the individual will be responsible for establishing Terralingua's new office and maintaining its day-to-day operations Duties will include: bookkeeping; creating budgets and cashflow projections; maintaining basic office supplies, equipment and software; making arrangements for travel and meetings; handling payroll; preparing financial reports for tax purposes; creating a filing system and maintaining files; and building databases of contacts As office assistant, the individual will cover phones and respond to public inquiries, and will contribute (as time allows)to the maintenance of Terralingua's website and the preparation of publications, funding proposals and grant reports.

The successful candidate must be both self-motivated and comfortable working closely with others in a team. Careful attention to detail, good judgment and ability to carry out tasks responsibly and independently required. Excellent organizational skills are essential, as are strong written and oral communication skills. All applicants should have a basic familiarity with office computer systems and software, including word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and Web browser programs Experience strongly preferred with office and financial management, including the creation and use of bookkeeping systems, general ledger accounting, monthly financial statements, bank reconciliations, and basic office system. Bachelor's degree (or equivalent experience) is also strongly preferred. Familiarity with the design and maintenance of Web pages and sites is a major plus.

Salary for half time will be in the range of $12,000 to $18,000 (with benefits) depending on experience. Salaries are expected to increase as additional funding is secured. Terralingua is an equal opportunity employer.

For either position, please send cover letter and resume to: Terralingua, 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, U.S.A, or fax to +1.202.3874823, or email to info(at) . Please no inquiries and no phone calls. Nominations solicited for the Ken Hale Prize

The Society for the Study of Indigeneous Languages of the Americas (SSILA)'s Ken Hale Prize, being inaugurated this year, is presented annually in recognition of outstanding community language work and a deep commitment to the documentation, preservation and reclamation of indigenous languages in the Americas. The Prize (which carries a small monetary stipend and is not to be confused with the Linguistic Society of America's Kenneth Hale Book Award) will honor those who strive to link the academic and community spheres in the spirit of Ken Hale, and recipients will range from native speakers and community-based linguists to academic specialists, and may include groups or organizations. No academic affiliation is necessary.

Nominations for the award may be made by anyone, and should include a letter of nomination stating the current position and affiliation (tribal, organizational, or academic) of the nominee or nominated group, and a summary of the nominee's background and contributions to specific language communities. The nominator should also submit a brief port- folio of supporting materials, such as the nominee's curriculum vitae, a description of completed or on-going activities of the nominee, letters from those who are most familiar with the work of the nominee (e.g. language program staff, community people, academic associates), and any other material that would support the nomination. Submission of manuscript-length work is discouraged.

The nomination packet should be sent to the chair of the Committee:

Sara Trechter Linguistics Program/English Department
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0830

The other members of this year's selection committee are Randolph Graczyk and Nora England

Inquiries can be e-mailed to Sara Trechter at (strechter(at) The deadline for receipt of nominations has been extended to October 15, 2002.