Foundation for Endangered Languages
6. Places to Go, on the Web and in the World
GALICIA: a New Electronic List of Galician Culture
Galicia is a country situated on the North-west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, on one of the several "Fines terrae" of Europe. Its Romanic language -Galician-Portuguese- was the vehicle of an important lyric production in the Middle Ages, which was studied from Galicia to Seville and from Seville to Provence, including the court of Toledo. Santiago de Compostela was, at that time, an atraction for pilgrims of all Europe.
The separation of Portugal in the twelfth century created a new kingdom, a new language -Portuguese- which is the oficial language of several states nowadays. The political union of Galicia with Leon and Castile and, later on with Spain, made it easier the development of Galician peculiarities which were already present in the medieval period, and the progressive distance from Portuguese. In addition, the autonomous normalization which was taken place since the late eighteenth century gave way to an autonomous language -Galician.
Since the end of the Middle Ages the process of formation of a Spanish State based on one oficial language -Spanish, also known as Castilian- and the progressive extinction of other languages -Galician, Basque and Catalan, together with Asturian-Leonese and Aragonese was taking place. However, that process was not so successful as expected, as those languages are still alive at the end of the twentieth century.
As a consequence of this failure and the existence of complex cultural, social and political movements of defence of their own personality in Galicia, Euskadi and the Catalan Countries since the late eighteenth century, a new constitution was passed in 1978 in Spain. This document acknowledges, for the first time, the coexistence of Spanish as a co-oficial language in those territories where other languages were originally spoken. In Galicia, no school or legal activities had been carried out in Galician since the sixteenth century. In 1995, Galician has achieved a high degree of competence in Galician society, although it has to face many problems.
Nowadays, there are lots of studies on Galician culture and a thousand works are published every year in Galician. In addition, the interest of non-Galician scientists and many foreign universities in our country, its culture and its language is increasing.
The creation of the Centre of Linguistic and Literary Researching Ramon Pinheiro -CIRP- in Santiago de Compostela makes us it feel necessary to create an electronic list to offer all INTERNET users a way of exchanging information and discussion about several aspects of Galician culture (language, literature, history, etc.).
Fuegan Web Site
Oscar Aguilera (oaguiler(at)abello.dic.uchile.cl) informs us of a new 'site' on the net which offers information (in Spanish for the moment) on Kawesqar (Alakaluf, Fueguian), an almost extinct South American Indian language. This site is planned to be part of a larger one, "Lenguas de Chile," under permanent construction. Contributions and comments are welcome.
The URL is:
You may also want to visit Aguilera's homepage:
New site for Quechua Language on the Web
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 22:30:20 -0800
An example text:
Phrases in Quechua:
Phrases in Quechua, frequently used, but without literal translations.
"Siki" is a very important word in kechwa, it means "rear end, or bottom".
Information on Teaching Materials for North American Native Languages
Shirley Silver, in her posting on NAT-LANG last week, was correct to identify SSILA (the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas) as a source of information on published and "semi-published" teaching materials and tapes for North American native languages. We are happy to respond to inquiries with copies of our bibliographical files for specific languages.
The best address to use to contact SSILA is golla (at) nic.csu.net. You can also reach us at gollav(at)axe.humboldt.edu.
E-mail us if you would like information about SSILA and its activities.
Bookstores that sell Irish language items.
Name: Clo Iar-Chonnachta Teo.
Notes: The 1991 catalog contains: Short stories, novels, poetry, history, children's books, grammars, fiction for teenagers, music cassettes, books on cassette, postcards, stickers, etc. Descriptions in Irish and English.
The Iuil '92 (July '29) contains newly release books and cassettes, descriptions in Irish and English. Includes "The Quiet Man Quiz 1000," a book of 1000 questions about the movie. Doesn't say if the book is in Irish or English though.
The 1993/94 catalog (bigger and better than ever!) is similar to the 1991 catalog descibed above. A list of books coming out soon, some new entries in the "Irish Language Learning Aids" section, and some video tapes (at least 2 of them i nGaeilge) round out this very nice catalog.
Postage to the US is a bit high, 30% of the cost of the books. (postage within Ireland is free, to the U.K. 10%, to other EC coutries 20%, and to Aust./Japan 35%). But they take VISA /Mastercard, which is a big plus in my book.
John T. McCranie, Comp. Sci. and Linguistics Grad Student,
Comparative Linguistics in African Languages of the Sahel-Sahara zone
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 1996 05:57:49 CST
Mailing-list ComparLingAfric is opened to topics where comparative linguistics in African languages of the Sahel-Sahara zone are the subject of discussion, this includes :
1) Languages and language families present in the Sahel-Sahara zone: Mande, Chadic, Berber, Nilo-Saharan... Analysis of results obtained in the research on genetic relationships.
Issues of the following type will thus be discussed:
Himalayan Languages Project
George van Driem, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden
The Himalayan Languages Project of Leiden University is a programme of ongoing linguistic research on hitherto undescribed and little known languages indigenous to the Himalayan region. Members of the multi-national research team consist of young linguists working towards their Ph.D. at Leiden University and post-doc researchers. This research programme is funded by the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research (NWO) and Leiden University.
Each Ph.D. candidate undertakes to produce a grammar of a Himalayan language, analysing and describing its phonology, morphology and syntax. The grammars include a bilingual glossary, morphologically analysed texts with translation, conjugational paradigms and a study of the people's indigenous pantheon, eschatology, religion and rituals. For the completion of this assignment, researchers in the employ of the Himalayan Languages Project are awarded a four-year scholarship, disbursed either through the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research or through Leiden University. Additionally, field work expenditures, within reasonable limits, are defrayed by the Project.
Post-doc researchers are taken on by the Himalayan Languages Project for a shorter term to complete a monograph, grammatical study or substantive scholarly contribution on a previously little known Himalayan language. The financial details of the engagement are worked out on an individual basis.
The project is still recruiting qualified linguists. In order to be eligible for a research four-year position, a Ph.D. candidate must have completed a Master's degree in Linguistics or have accrued comparable academic credentials which qualify him or her to complete a linguistic description of the prescribed calibre. Post-doc researchers must have completed a doctorate in Linguistics and specialised themselves in the field of Descriptive Linguistics, Oriental Studies or both. Applications and inquiries regarding either ongoing research or vacancies should be addressed directly to the Project Director, Dr George van Driem,
Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Postbus 9515
Australian Indigenous Languages: Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi Web dictionary
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 16:52:48 -0800
We would like to announce that a dictionary of Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi (northern NSW, Australia) has been put on the World Wide Web.
It is the Web's first page-formatted, hypertext dictionary. As far as we know, other Web dictionaries are either:
- search engines (and the info returned includes hypertext links in few cases)
Please have a look at the dictionary if you have time, at URL :
It is part of a site being built for information about Australian Indigenous languages at :
Language Shift - New Mailing List
LG-SHIFT is an open, unmoderated forum for all scholars interested in Language Shift and any and all phenomena closely related to it.
The International Sociolinguistics Department of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) takes great pleasure in being able to host this forum for scholarly discussion on a topic of great current interest.
It is our hope to gather together in lively interaction, linguists, sociolinguists, anthropologists, social psychologists, and any others who can contribute to and profit from the exchange of information.
LG-SHIFT is run as an Internet mailing list. To subscribe, send an email message to MAILSERV(at)SIL.ORG with the following command line only as the body of the message:
You will receive a welcome file providing further details. For further information or questions contact Paul Lewis (Paul_Lewis(at)SIL.ORG), the current "list owner".
The list has started off well. I enclose an early exchange, on Urban and Rural Settings.
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 1996 20:05:54 -0500 (EST)
In the expectation that subscribers to the language- shift mailing list will have experience with a wide variety of settings, I thought this might be a good place to raise a question about the relationship between rural and urban settings in language shift and language revitalization processes.
In his 1994 book on "Multilingualism" I noticed that John Edwards associated urbanization with shift, saying that 'The language preserved in the country is forgotten in the town' (p. 107) & contrasting the artificial tho valiant effort of thinly spread and 'selfconscious' maintainers & revitalsts in urban centers with the 'unselfconscious' speakers of rural areas (p. 108; he exemplifies the patterns he describes by way of Irish & Scottish Gaelic-speaking areas, in particular).
I wondered what the experience of researchers in language shift is in this connection currently, and whether it's different in countries with greater & lesser levels of economic development. In Scotland the pattern has seemed to be changing in recent years. Certainly the rural hinterlands of Ireland and Scotland arent unselfconscious about their language choices these days, and havent been for some time. (Malcolm Chapman wrote about the painful selfconsciousness among native Gaelic speakers of bearing what was left of an ancient cultural tradition in his 1978 book on "The Gaelic Vision in Scottish Culture".) But my impression has been that one of the chief differences between rural & urban speakers is not their selfconsciousness (pretty widespread in both settings, only less negatively tinged among some urbanites) but their selfconfidence, with urban-based speakers acquiring selfconfidence more rapidly than rural speakers thanks to better education & income levels. (Re)location in an urban setting is more likely to lead to higher-paying jobs & to increased access to education, and both of those are in turn more likely to lead to politicization & concern for an ethnolinguistic heritage. If it's correct to identify a process of this sort, then the seeds of revitalization might after all lie in towns & cities, at least in some cases. Do overall levels of education, prosperity, & political autonomy within a region or a country need to be factored in, because of their presumed role in promoting a selfconfident middle class that includes members of the shift-prone community? Is clash between urban ethnic enthusiasts or activists with relatively greater economic security and hinter land ethnics with more fundamental economic concerns inevitable?
This has since been followed up by largely supportive discussion from Richard Benton , citing the situation of Maori in New Zealand, and from Paul Lewis on the Mayan languages in Guatemala.