Foundation for Endangered Languages

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5. Allied Societies and Activities

The Association for the preservation of minority languages in the Czech Republic from Diana Kosslerova 23 May 2004 14:34

OSTRAVA, North Moravia, May 23 (CTK) - The Association for the preservation of minority languages in the Czech Republic, that was founded in Cesky Tesin on Saturday, wants to protect the language rights of citizens who use other than the official language in their everyday life, Jozef Szymeczek said today.

The same associations function in further EU countries and the headquarters' seat is in Brussels, said Szymeczek, chairman of the Congress of Poles in the Czech Republic.

One of the countries where a similar association exists is Poland, and new ones are to be founded in Slovakia and Hungary soon as well.

The association wants to hold cultural and educational events to help preserve ethnic minority languages in the Czech Republic.

The association will for the time being be based in Cesky Tesin, but it could move to Prague later on. The organisation will apply for money from EU funds. Szymeczek said that a total of 12 ethnic minorities are officially recognised in the Czech Republic: Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Romany, Russian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak and Ukrainian. The numerically strongest is the Slovak minority with 184,000 people according to the 2001 census. It is followed by Poles and Germans according to the census.

Documenting Endangered Languages (NSF/NEH/Smithsonian partnership)

The National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced "Documenting Endangered Languages," a multi-year funding partnership supporting projects to develop and advance knowledge concerning endangered human languages. Made urgent by the imminent death of an estimated half of the 6,000-7,000 currently used human languages, this effort aims also to exploit advances in information technology. Funding will support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, documenting, and archiving endangered languages, including the preparation of lexicons, grammars, text samples, and databases. Funding will be available in the form of one- to three-year project grants as well as fellowships for up to twelve months. At least half the available funding will be awarded to projects involving fieldwork. The Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives will participate in the partnership as a research host, a non-funding role.

Principal Investigators and applicants for Fellowships may propose projects involving one or more of the following activities:



1. Conduct fieldwork to record in digital audio and video format one or more endangered languages.

2. Carry out later stages of documentation including the preparation of lexicons, grammars, text samples, and databases.

3. Digitize and otherwise preserve and provide wider access to such documentary materials, including previously collected materials and those concerned with languages which have recently died and are related to currently endangered languages.

4. Further develop standards and databases to make this documentation widely available in consistent, archivable, interoperable, and Web-based formats.

5. Conduct initial analysis of findings in the light of current linguistic theory.

6. Train native speakers in descriptive linguistics.

7. Create other infrastructure, including workshops, to make the problem of endangered languages more widely understood and more effectively addressed.

Proposed projects may range from a single investigator working for six months to a group of investigators working for three years. DEL will give the highest priority to projects that involve actually recording in digital audio and video format endangered languages before they become extinct.

Academic institutions and non-profit, non-academic organizations located in the United States are eligible for project funding. U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for fellowships, as are foreign nationals who have been living in the United States or its jurisdictions for at least the three years prior to the proposal deadline.

The anticipated funding amount is $2,000,000 annually, pending the availability of funds. It will be distributed among 18 to 22 awards, approximately 12 of which will be fellowships of either $40,000 (9-12 months) or $24,000 (6-8 months).

The first proposal deadline will be November 1, 2004. For full program information and proposal guidelines visit:

General questions and questions about project grants should be directed to Joan Maling, Linguistics Program Director, NSF (tel: 703/292-8046, fax: 703/292-9068, e-mail:

Questions about fellowships should be directed to Helen Aguera, Acting Deputy Director, Preservation & Access Program, NEH (tel: 202/606-8573, e-mail: