Foundation for Endangered Languages

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6. Reports on Meetings

Revitalizing Algonquian Languages: Sharing Effective Language Renewal Practices - 21-23 February, 2002

Manshantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Manshantucket, Connecticut, USA

Blair Rudes reports:
Hosted by the Tribal Council of the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, the Revitalizing Algonquian Languages Conference was a historic meeting that brought together over 80 representatives from Algonquian nations in New England and elsewhere, including the Abenaki, Munsee Delaware, Golden Hill Paugussett, Malecite, Mashantucket Pequot, Miami, Mohegan, Montauk, Narragansett, Ojibwa, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Rappahanock, Schaghticoke, Shinnecock, Stockbridge Mahican, and Wampanoag. In addition, the participants included representatives of other American Indian nations and professionals involved in efforts to revitalize American Indian languages.

The participants represented a broad cross-section of interested parties: native speakers, native and non-native linguists, language educators, instructional technologists, revitalization program administrators, instructors and consultants, spiritualists, tribal government officials, and community members. Unquestionably, the most encouraging aspect of the conference were the presentations on the progress that has been made in revitalizing the previously dormant Mohegan and Miami languages.

At the same time, the most salient feature of the conference was the repeated, heart-felt pleas for cooperation and collaboration among the Algonquian nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages.

Presentations were made by:
Daryl Baldwin "Myaamia Project";
Kathleen Bragdon "Southern New England Native Languages: Past, Present and Future";
Jim Crews "Restoring Eastern Long Island Algonquian",
Jessie Little Doe Fermino "?____??____??____??____??___mation Project";
Laura Grant "Today's Technology in Language Revitalization";
Beth MacDonald "Strategy in Language"; Wayne Newell "Passamaquoddy Language Program";
Lois Quigley, Mary Todd and Yolanda Smith "Seneca Language Program";
Tall Oak "Mu'ndu Wi'go - The Importance of Spirituality in New England Algonquian Languages";



Bruce Pearson and Jim Rementer "Language Preservation in Three Communities";
Jon Reyhner "Revitalizing Severely Endangered Languages";
Trudie Lamb Richmond and Melissa Fawcett Tantaquidgeon "Language Without a Fluent Speaker", and
Blair Rudes "Using Early Language Sources: Some Methodological Considerations". In addition, there wer_ two panel discussions:
(1) Daryl Baldwin, Jon Reyhner and Blair Rudes "Revitalizing Dormant Languages"; and

(2) Jim Crews, Lois Quigley, Mary Todd, Yolanda Smith, Laura Grant and Beth MacDonald "Technology as a Language Tool".

Language Endangerment Day at Dept Linguistics, Manchester University, England

Held on Saturday, 25 May 2002, 1-4.30 pm, this meeting aimed to increase the awareness of language endangerment issues and the seriousness of the situation. The Linguistics Department at Manchester University has a strong and broad research record in this area, and apart from a general discussion of language endangerment issues, there were brief talks on specific languages and cultures by members of the Department who have done field work in those areas:

Professor Nigel Vincent, who talked about general issues involved in language endangerment and provide sketches of some specific areas where the threat is particularly strong

Professor Dan Everett, who commutes between Manchester and the Amazon, where he has spent his professional life working on the languages of that region
Dr Yaron Matras, a world expert on Romani (the language of the Gypsies)
Dr Kersti Brjars, who works with the Amish community in Southern Ontario
Dr Thomas Klein, who works with the Chamorro community in the Mariana Islands in the Pacific
Dr Greg Anderson who does field work sponsored by the Volkswagen Stiftung on Turkic languages in Siberia, some spoken by less than 40 people