Foundation for Endangered Languages

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8. Places to Go, on the Web and in the World

Return of Endangered Languages List After a hiatus from October 2002, the Endangered-Languages-L has resumed, now hosted by LinguistList. There is also an archive at
archives/endangered-languages-l.html This is missing postings between Dec 1996 and Oct 1999, and prior to Nov 1995, which perhaps a reader can supply?

PARADISEC (Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures)

Australia lies within a region of great linguistic and cultural diversity. Over 2000 of the world's 6000 different languages are spoken in Australia, the South Pacific Islands (including around 900 languages in New Guinea alone) and Southeast Asia. Within the next century this number is likely to drop to a few hundred. The majority of these 2000 languages and their associated cultural expressions such as music are very poorly documented. Even in those languages that have begun to be documented many of the most developed cultural expressions (such as the dense and highly allusive language used in song) have never been studied.

PARADISEC (Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) offers a facility for digital conservation and access for endangered materials from the Pacific region, defined broadly to include Oceania and East and Southeast Asia. At present no such facility exists, and our research group is examining feasible models to ensure that the archive can provide access to interested communities, and conforms with emerging international standards for digital archiving.

In 2003 we aim to establish a framework for accessioning, cataloguing, and digitising audio, text and visual material, and preserving digital copies. The primary focus of this initial stage is safe preservation of material that would otherwise be lost, especially field tapes from the 1950s and 1960s.

Data Preservation
Recorded material needs to be preserved in a way that allows it to be read into the future. Reel to reel and cassette tapes are becoming obsolete and the ability to play them is becoming more difficult. If there is only one copy of the recorded material it is even more vulnerable to being lost, in cyclones, fires or simply as a result of poor storage conditions.

The current option for preserving this data is to digitise it at the best quality available and to store several copies in separate locations, as PARADISEC is doing.

Information discovery
Cataloguing information (or metadata) will accompany all items in the collection. The collection is catalogued using descriptors based on Dublin Core and the Open Languages Archives Community (OLAC) recommendations. By using these metadata standards we are able to share information about what is located in the collection. The goal is that any resource from the region be discoverable regardless of where it is located, and regardless of where the researcher is located. Access to the data itself requires permission which is specified for each object in the collection.

Intellectual property issues
Each item in the collection has its own access conditions, as specified by the depositor and performer. If an item is distributed, the moral rights of speakers and performers are asserted and maintained.

Cultural renewal
A founding principle for PARADISEC is that small and endangered cultures need support for locating and reintroducing material that was recorded in the past. Ensuring that the material is well cared for means that it can be made available into the future. Digital outputs from PARADISEC will be available in various formats depending on the needs of the users. While audio files will be stored at high resolution, they can be made available as MP3 or other formats for delivery on CD or over the web.

PARADISEC is managed by a steering committee representing a consortium of three Universities, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and Australian National University.

A Quadriga system uses the AudioCube workstation to digitise audio material at 24-bit, 96 khz BWF. A backup version of all data is held offsite at the APAC facility in Canberra, using the GrangeNet network to deliver the data from Sydney.

PARADISEC will establish a standard cataloging method using metadata that conforms to the Open Languages Archives Community (OLAC)

Services offered
Digitisation of audio and video material.

Training in the documentation techniques of recording, data management, and data linkage. Topics covered include:
use and comparative advantages of types of recording equipment;
transcription and inter-linearising of texts;
linkage of digitised audio and transcripts;
managing information as it is collected to facilitate later access.
assessment and cataloguing of data collections.

Safe backup of digital data.
We offer a service of safely housing data which is not accessioned into the collection, especially work in progress or data that is not for general distribution.

Future directions
While there is a great need for the repository offered by PARADISEC it is currently operating on limited project funding. We are investigating funding options to ensure the archival function can be put on a stronger footing.

Department of Linguistics & Applied Linguistics
The University of Melbourne
Vic 3010
tel +61 3 8344 5185
fax +61 3 8344 8990
Email: paradisec(at)

For further information, contact
Linda Barwick
Senior Research Fellow, Dept Music J09
University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
tel +61 2 9351 2923; fax +61 2 9351 7340

Information Needed: cross-cultural significance of blushing

Christine Patricia Murphy (cpm23(at), a student in the Anthropology Department at Columbia University, is currently looking into the cross-cultural significance of the physiological and emotional responses associated with blushing and their implications for nonverbal communication. Please let her know if you have encountered related terms in studies of Native American languages.

Announcing the Encyclopaedia project of Saami Culture

Saami Indigenous culture in focus:
The Encyclopaedia of Saami Culture focuses on the indigenous culture of the Saami and the task is approached with the opportunities and challenges of multidisciplinary research in mind. Research on ethnic minorities such as the Saami cannot be limited to a single discipline or branch of learning; in most cases it is multidisciplinary by virtue of its starting point alone. Research on ethnic minorities is associated with the traditions and perspectives of politics, culture, the study of religions, history, society, the economy, mentalities and language. As is customary, this project understands multidisciplinarity to mean cooperation between different fields of research. It has the benefit of scientific polyphony and the asset of combining different approaches of scholarship. Multidisciplinarity is an integral requirement for discussion on identity, ethnicity and culture.

The actual idea of an encyclopaedia of Saami culture is based on a study module launched in 1993 at the University of Helsinki as the responsibility of a working group representing several departments of the university. The Saami Culture Encyclopaedia Editorial Board was formed from the university’s Saami Research Working Group, with Nordic associates and partners as added members. The Saami Institute of the University of Umeå, one of the project’s partners, has been represented by Olavi Korhonen and Mikael Svonni. Other partners are the Álgu etymological project of the Saami languages operating at the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland and the Finnish Literature Society.

New approaches and new dimension: The starting point and inspiration of the project is the distinctive culture of the Saami and interest in them that has emerged in different parts of the world. Since early times, scholars in various fields, travellers and clergymen have been interested in the Saami, whose culture has been regarded as the most exotic of all the cultures of the European peoples. The contributors of the articles in the encyclopaedia seek to revise and overturn old stereotypes and to present the recent results of multidisciplinary research concerning the Saami



The objective is to chart and systematize information in the culture of the Saami – a Nordic indigenous people across national border. In Europe in the process of integration there is cause to place particular weight on preserving the cultures of indigenous peoples, and on the broad distribution of researched information on them. The project also involves the goal of strengthening the identity and cultural awareness of the Saami. In today’s changing world this is one of the best ways of preventing the social and cultural marginalization of small peoples living in difficult conditions

Comprehensive data bank:
New information on minorities within the Saami people, such as the Russian Saami

A modern electronic data bank will include approximately 4000 entries in article form on the Saami language and Saami history, mythology, folklore, literature and music, as well as the economy, the natural environment, means of livelihood, media, rights, education, art, societal conditions etc.
The biographical articles will present important historical and contemporary cultural figures: Saami authors, artists, singers, politicians, and also the best-known researchers of Sápmi, the land of the Saami.
An etymological list of 50 Saami culture terms
A list of so called reference entries
A necessary work of reference for the international scholarly community, public authorities, cultural experts, teachers and students in various fields, and for all who are interested in Saami culture – including the Saami themselves.
The objective is to publish the Encyclopaedia of Saami culture as a book and in CD-ROM format.

Timetable: A Data bank will be in the internet by the autumn of 2003. Saami Culture
Encyclopaedia in the form of a book will be published in the year of 2004.

New Courses in Corpus Linguistics and Lexicography

The Centre for Corpus Linguistics and Dictionary Research Centre, Department of English, University of Birmingham, UK, announces two short courses for September, 2003. The first is a three-day course entitled “Using Corpora in Language Research,” which will give students an introduction to the present state-of-the-art in corpus linguistics and will show how to use corpus research in a variety of other contexts. The second course is on “Meaning and Dictionaries.” This course is aimed particularly at researchers in lexicography and at professional lexicographers in the early stages of their career. It will deal with both monolingual and bilingual aspects of meaning. For further information, see the website: or go to the main university website:

The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America
at the University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the formal launching of its new website at: Error! Reference source not found.. The new site provides interfaces in English and Spanish to the new, permanent database and the new graded access system, which allows depositors to restrict access to sensitive materials in various ways. The Archive hopes those working in Latin America will be inspired to send us materials to add to the Archive, which is interested in recordings of discourse, as well as deposits in almost any genre, including word lists, grammatical sketches, unpublished articles or theses, teaching materials. Deposits are accepted in any medium; all materials will be digitized and archived according to your access specifications.

Digital archive for languages of the Pacific and South-East Asian region.
Contact PARADISEC (Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) at Error! Reference source not found. for further information.

Metis News
now has a more private and dependable system, and you are invited to join this discussion and news alert group: Error! Reference source not found. To read native news on the web: Error! Reference source not found.

Two new websites: Minority Languages of Europe and Lesser Turki
1) to minoritarian languages of Europe at Error! Reference source not found.
2) to small Turkic peoples and their languages at Error! Reference source not found.

Sorbian Cultural Information
is pleased to announce the publication of a new website which can be located at: Error! Reference source not found. For your convenience, the website is now available in five languages.

The Resources for Endangered Languages web site
has moved to the Endangered Languages Fund site at the following new address: Error! Reference source not found. The old link, Error! Reference source not found., is no longer valid.

Central-Eurasia-L (formerly CentralAsia-L)
is the most information-rich and widely subscribed source for information on activities and resources in Central Eurasian Studies world-wide. The archive of Central-Eurasia-L, which is available on-line at Error! Reference source not found., is one of the best places available to find out about anything going on in Central Eurasian studies. Central-Eurasia-L is one of the best ways to get information out if you are a grant organization, employer, conference-organizer, publisher, author, etc. in this field. We encourage you to post your brief information to: Error! Reference source not found. To subscribe, visit Error! Reference source not found. or send us your request.

Allow us to present to you the international site dedicated exclusively to the Valencian language with web versions in English, Spanish, French, German and Valencian.

Valencian is a Romance language spoken by more than 2 million people in the historic Kingdom of Valencia, which is located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. It is official according to the article 7.1 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy and is included in the Spanish Declaration of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Nevertheless it is subject to discrimination by those who want to impose the Catalan or the Spanish in Valencia. is a project of the Language and Literature Section of the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (RACV),, which exists for the exterior promotion of the Valencian language.

Frontier Language Institute
Frontier Language Welfare Organization (Registration DSW/NWFP/2048)
19-F Khushal Khan Khattak Rd., University Town, Peshawar, Pakistan
Phone & Fax: (+92/0)-91-853792
E-mail: frontier_language(at)
Enabling communities in the North West Frontier Province to produce and use literature through education and training for the development of their languages and the welfare of their people.

Rationale for FLI
Many individuals would like to preserve the rich culture, heritage and languages of Pakistan. There are also people who want to contribute to the development of Pakistan by promoting literacy. Some desire training and assistance in making dictionaries. Others need help locating linguistic resources to aid their scholarly research. To carry out these varied tasks, people need specialized training and access to resources.

At the present time, there are no institutions in the North West Frontier Province that can provide this kind of training. Therefore, the Frontier Language Welfare Organization has established the Frontier Language Institute (FLI) to fill this void. Its purpose is to serve the many language communities represented in Pakistan by training Pakistani nationals and equip them with the skills necessary to carry out language and community development activities in their own communities.

Equipped with this training, they will be able to produce all sorts of literature and multimedia productions, which will both document and preserve these languages for future generations. These media will include such things as dictionaries, cultural expositories, reading primers, disease prevention booklets as well as collections of folktales, proverbs, poetry and songs. Working closely with language communities, FLI will assess their needs and through adult education, provide informal training to men and women from those communities in the areas of linguistics—in order to carry out language research and development, translation—to translate various works of literature across linguistic boundaries, anthropology—so that cultural heritages can be shared, and print and non-print media production and use—so that these communities can better address the needs of all their people, including the school-aged, the elderly and the needy.