Foundation for Endangered Languages

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2. Development of the Foundation

Call for Applications for FEL Grants

The Foundation for Endangered Languages is now accepting proposals for projects of work that will support, enable or assist the documentation, protection or promotion of one or more endangered languages. These endangered languages may be anywhere in the world.

The Foundation's funds remain extremely limited and only an exceptional award will be greater than US $1,500. Smaller proposals stand a better chance of funding.

Please pass on this announcement to your friends and colleagues in endangered-language communities who may not have access to Ogmios, the Internet or e-mail.

Format for Submission As of this year, there has been a change in the format for submissions to the Foundation. In future, applicants must submit a short “Case for Support” and an Application Form. Guidance on how to write a Case, and fill out the form, is accessible at the Foundation's website: - It may also be obtained from me at the address below. (Any other, older, FEL materials - as still at - are obsolete, and should not be used.)

The Case for Support (CS) and Application Form (AF) are best submitted as Word files attached to an e-mail message sent to Non-ASCII text should be in some form of Unicode. The two files should be named "languageCS.doc" and "languageAF.doc", substituting the name of the language to be studied for 'language'.

Copies printed on paper will also be accepted as an alternative. In general, it is not necessary to send a hard copy of an electronic proposal for confirmation, but FEL may request this if there are major difficulties in reading the file.

All proposals must be submitted in this format, to ensure comparability. Unless agreed with me in advance in writing, all proposals must be in English.

Deadline The time-limit for proposals will be 30 January 2005. By that date, full proposals (consisting of Case for Support and Application Form) must reach me at the address below. All proposals received will be acknowledged on receipt.

The FEL Committee will announce its decision by 31st March 2005.

Comments on Draft Proposals FEL tries to keep its procedures as simple as possible. But it recognizes that they may be especially taxing for those without training in a western university. In the case of proposals from communities or community linguists, FEL is prepared to comment on drafts, and suggest weaknesses and potential remedies (without prejudice) before the selection. Such draft proposals - clearly marked "DRAFT" - should reach FEL as soon as possible, and no later than 31 December 2004.

This commenting service is simply offered in order to help: it is never required to submit such a draft. If draft applications are received from applicants who are judged not to be members of endangered language communities or such communities' designated linguists, they may be re-classified as final applications, at FEL’s discretion.

Note: The Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) is a separate from ELF, the Endangered Language Fund ( It is perfectly possible (and has indeed occurred in the past) that the same project can be partially funded by both FEL and ELF. Guidance Notes for Completion of the Case for Support and the Application

A. Guidance on writing the Case for Support

The Case for Support should usually be no longer than three sides of normally-printed A4 paper (for example, using Times New Roman 12 point); this means it should be no longer than about 2,000 words.

The Case should have the following parts.

1. Title of Project
This should be an explicit phrase including the name of the language to be studied or developed and the kind of work to be done: e.g. “Survey of Kagoro and neighbouring languages”; “Kazandusun: Development of reading materials”; “Sierra Miwok: Master-Apprentice Scheme”.

2. Background to the work
Describe the language: its nature, location, number of speakers, relation to other languages, etc. You should include such details as adjacent languages (genetically and geographically) the number of known first language speakers, the number of known second language speakers, whether or not the language is being passed on to younger generations and, if so, by what means. You should state whether the language’s speakers view it as a distinct language or as a dialect of some other language. You should indicate what languages of communication are used with neighbouring communities and whether this communication in other languages is general, or limited to certain spheres of activity.

You should describe previous research stating whether the language has been documented previously (if so please attach a bibliography), whether or not sound recordings have been made, transcribed or analysed, whether or not the language is written and, if it is if the orthography is in general use by the speech community and whether it was devised specifically for this language.

You should describe the current sphere and range of use of the language (for example mass media, religious/ceremonial use, spoken communication etc).

You should also state whether the community has literacy in other languages.

You should describe the nature of the threat to the language and the process of language diminution or loss as far as is known, with statistical evidence if possible.

Finally, describe how your work fits in with other work on the language, including work within your own organisation.

3. The work
Describe the work for which you are seeking support. Set out the aims and objectives and how you intend to achieve these. Describe the methods to be used.

4. Expected outcomes and beneficiaries
Describe what you hope will come from the work. What outcomes do you hope for? What material will be produced? How will the results be used, who will use them and for what purpose?

You should also set out how the work might lead on to further projects and indicate what these projects might be.

5. Collaboration
The Foundation is keen to see the work it supports benefit directly the linguistic communities under study. Please describe how you intend to collaborate with the communities in this project.

6. Resources
Please justify the resources you have asked for on the form. Please state clearly why you need the items requested, for what purpose will they be used and how were the sums requested were calculated?

Where support from FEL will be in addition to support you already have state why the resources were not provided within the other grants and why additional resources are requested from FEL

7. Qualifications
Briefly describe your working background and academic qualifications as an indication of why you are suitable to carry out this work.

8. Summary
It should be a brief description of the work proposed, its aims and objectives. It helps if you note aspects of the work that will be novel. Also make it clear why the work needs to be done soon, why it is important and why you are well-placed to carry out the work.

B. Guidance on completing the application form

The following paragraphs describe what is expected under each of the headings in the Application Form. The numbering follows the numbering on the form.

1. Applicant details
Please give your full name, the institution and department you work for, or are affiliated to, and the address for correspondence. If this address is different from the organisation address, please give the organisation's address on a separate sheet with an explanation of why the addresses are different. Please also give any other contact details such as your phone, fax and e-mail where available.

2. Title of Project
Please state the title of the project. This should be the same as in the Case for Support.

3. Target language and location
State clearly the language to be studied and its geographical location (country, region, etc)

4. Objectives
Please list the objectives of the project in order of their priority. No explanation need be given here -- we are looking for the main points.

5. Overview
Please summarise the aims, and likely outcomes of the work in terms that a general audience can understand. This is different from the Summary in the Case for Support, since (if your project is funded) it will be used to describe your project to the public. The Foundation is a charity funded by membership subscription and donations. We need to explain the nature of the work we support to potential donors. The information you supply here will help us to do that.

6. Resources
List the resources for which you are requesting support. State clearly the currency being used.

7. Collaboration with local communities
Please describe briefly the collaborations you propose with local communities naming the groups with whom you are collaborating.

8. Support from other organisations
We would like to know how the work you are proposing fits into other work being done by yourself, or close colleagues. We would also like to know where our support would be additional to support you already have, so please state clearly what other support is available for the work, and why additional resources are requested from FEL.

9. Declaration
As the wording of the declaration states, the Foundation is a charity and must be able to prove the work it supports is of public benefit. The declaration also requires you to provide the Foundation with a list of recommendations for further monitoring and work on the language that is the subject of the application. This material will serve both to support the current application in the selection process, and also to provide the Foundation with arguments in their quest for further funds to supplement existing projects in the future.

Generalitat de Catalunya
FEL VIII “On the Margins of Nations: Endangered Languages and Linguistic Rights”, Barcelona 1-3 Oct. 2004: an Insider's View
Report by Joan Argenter, Conference Chairman, and leader of our partner, the UNESCO Chair of Languages and Education at Barcelona.
1.Overall description and assessment.
Statistics: (i) Abstracts received: 66; (ii) Abstracts accepted: 55; (iii) Abstracts accepted for oral presentation: 34; (iv) Abstracts accepted for poster presentations: 21; (v) Oral presentations at the Conference: 24; (vi) Posters presented at the Conference: 11; (vii) Papers published in the Conference Proceedings: 36. (including the editors’ preface and keynote lectures).
2. Contents: Main subject. Suggested main themes.
The subject was a relevant one, if broadly diverging in its recognition and implementation between communities. The suggested themes were relevant too, though they were unevenly dealt with. Authors opted mainly for theme (1: Grass-roots efforts and top-down institutions) – also the most general one –, then theme (3: Languages Crossing Borders) and very sparsely for theme (2: The Global vs the Localk in Linguistic Rights). 3. Format of the Conference.
The number of abstracts presented, our inclusive policy and the decision to avoid parallel sessions suggested that the poster presentations and the poster discussing session was to be a good way of managing with a great number of contributions. Problems raised: a few abstract presenters decided to resign when they knew they had been assigned a poster presentation.
The inclusion of poster presentations in the Proceedings as one-page contributions probably was a good idea. Problems generated: some authors’ misunderstanding of the publishing instructions, some papers were too extended to be published, many extended just a few lines when formatted, the number of pages of the book increased. A few previously identified keynote lectures is not a bad policy, provided that the authors choose an appropriately oriented topic if needed. In Barcelona there was a certain redundancy: Goenaga’s lecture dealt with languages crossing borders (theme 3) to an extent that overlapped with de Graaf’s, to whom it had been assigned. However, the local organizer thought that highlighting the Basque case was sufficiently justified.
4. Keynote speakers
Keynote speakers were correctly identified – even if not specialists in “linguistic rights”. As a matter of fact, “language policies” were taken as being just as relevant as “linguistic rights” by all participants. We decidedly avoided a lecture on “language rights” as a general abstract topic, a topic to be defined or presented in an essentialist way, etc.

Patxi Goenaga & Joan Albert Argenter
Leanne Hinton (“The Death and Rebirth of Native American Languages”) and Tjeerd de Graaf (“The Status of Endangered Languages in the Border Areas of Japan and Russia”) are both involved in endangered languages research and advocacy. Patxi Goenaga (“Fronteras que dividen y fronteras que separan. Una Mirada a Europa desde el Euskara”) was representative of the language in Spain which is arguably the closest to being endangered, and a case that merits interest for evident reasons, linguistic and sociolinguistic.
5. Excursions and visits: relevance and deployment.
Both excursions, to Val d’Aran and to North Catalonia, were relevant in terms of particular language situations within Catalonia. (Val d'Aran is the Occitan-speaking area where the language has been accorded an official status and has been standardized.) In a way, they were complementary too. Probably the nature of the case in North Catalonia might have be conjectured in advance, since it is under the rule of French State. Val d’Aran, however, is rather less known, since it is under the rule of Catalan institutions. They were also relevant in view of their relation to their own linguistic domains (Occitania and the Catalan-speaking area, respectively). The interest of getting first-hand knowledge of these cases justified the choice, although the journeys to reach them were rather long.
Excursions turned out as foreseen. Our contacts there were the right ones – representative, cooperative and informative. The weather was in our favour too, and people enjoyed their trip.
The visits combined various sources of insight on the situations of these language communities and their current evolution: interviews with local “politicians” and/or advocates, visits to museums and ethnographic sites (e.g. the “cottage” in the small Vilamós village, Val d’Aran), a cultural evening of Aranese song, visits to natural places and landscapes, and light walking gave a result that surpassed the expectations of the overloaded organizers (!). Moral: If you work hard and skilfully eventually you are rewarded (or not).
The fact that Val d’Aran implied one night away from Barcelona may have dissuaded some people from registering. Still, the deal agreed with Hotel Turin – whereby the party was away for one night in the midst of their stay - was a good one. This should be taken account of in new conferences in the future.
Actually, the only inconvenience was either the narrowness of streets in the small village (Bordes), the size of the bus’s horns and their volume.

Era Glèisa de Vielha, Val d'Aran

From an organizational point of view, we did not know how many people were about to come to our first excursion, since many people did not register to the Conference until they were in BCN on Friday morning. To organize a trip before people registered in situ is a handicap.
Visiting the Palau de la Generalitat on Friday evening was a fascinating experience that you will be hard-pressed to find again in any tourist visit to Barcelona.
6. Organization: Role of partner (UNESCO Chair).
This was the first time that the FEL Conference worked with a local institutional partner. It is not to us to judge the experience. We think this has not been that bad. It is highly recommended for organizers to have attended previous FEL conferences, and to attend the Executive Committee meetings (our visit to Bath was very useful). It is needed to clarify all financial, organizational and competence matters. As a matter of fact, the cooperation between FEL and UNESCO Chair has been overall positive.
The schedule with which we worked was established in Bath: a bit late and a bit short-termed – the editing experience, however, speaks of the need to have final originals in time early enough.
Main stages of the process: (i) Call for papers, (ii) Deadline for abstract presentation, (iii) Deadline for reviewers’ job, (iv) Deadline for communication to authors, (v) Deadline for grants awarding, (vi) Deadline for full paper presentation, (vii) Deadline for early bird register, deadline(s) for plus-charge register, (viii) Deadline for editors’ job, (ix) Deadline for printer’s job, (x) Register at the Conference. All questions and issues expressed by attendants have been reasonably afforded: financial help, register help, lodge help, invitation letters for home institutions, deals with Spanish Embassies or Consulates, etcetera. A few requests from purported attendees were dismissed owing to our doubts on the intention of petitioners.
7. Organization: Role of Host institution (IEC).
The Conference took place on a week-end. This conditioned the extent to which the host institution gave support to the Conference.
However, the Conference was diligently served by staff technicians in the Conference room and the housekeeper in the ground at the door of the building (in fact, a security guard) the whole week-end. Also we had administrative staff support on Friday. A higher level staff computer system technician was in service at home available, if necessary, within the range of 45-60 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. The role played by the Conference volunteers was of great help. Also the photographer attended – though not on Friday at the Opening session, but on Saturday (because of a local confusion). Joan Moles was everywhere and afforded all kind of needs.
The Host institution facilities were high standard quality.
To have a few – or just one –computers for attendants’ use would be highly desirable; but we did not succeed in this.
8. Incomes: Fund-raising and Conference fees. Budget. Expenses.
FEL Conferences have been always based on a self-financing basis.
However neither FEL nor UNESCO Chair were quite without external fund-raising. UNESCO Chair applied for financial aid to different agencies. Eventually one of these applications was successful. But we did not know this until late July – partly, because of political changes after elections both in Catalonia and Spain. The UNESCO Chair did not know anything about its own funding. Until July then we did not know how we would afford the conference. This was the main reason to work with a self-financing scenario at the time when register fees were established – after all, however, our register fees amounted the usual prices in BCN conferences (plus the income from non-members). Also this was the reason why we asked FEL to afford for grants at the time when these had to be assigned.
9. Grants and grants policy. Invited participants.
As to the grants policy: the sum of Euro 3.000 was allocated in advance for grants. More people than we expected applied for a grant – including Western university-based teacher staff. Our policy was that a reasonably great number of people benefited of a partial financial aid to attend the conference – rather than to pay just a few full fees grants. This policy was a reasonable one, I think, but many people asked for a more substantial aid
10. Proceedings.
The policy of having the Proceedings book issued for the conference has many advantages (e.g., an effective spur to get material collected from authors, generally good image, fewer added costs for distribution, speedy availability of a volume to distribute (and sell) to non-attendees.). Inevitably, it imposes on the editors a hard job against the clock. Improvements on form and content of papers were made, and discussed with authors when necessary, and the whole volume was produced to schedule.

The Chairman of FEL would like to add his especial thanks to Joan Argenter and Joan Moles for the excellent conference that they were able lay on for us