Foundation for Endangered Languages
9. Publications of Interest
The Land Still Speaks
Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Maintenance and Development Needs and Activities by Graham McKay (Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia)
Indigenous languages are the main languages of some relatively isolated communities in Australia, particularly in the north and the centre, but they have given way to English over much of the country, especially in the highly urbanised south and east. The two hundred year history of non-indigenous settlement has brought about the loss of two thirds of the original 250 or so languages. In recent decades indigenous people have been taking action in many parts of Australia to maintain and develop their languages as a part of their identity and heritage. This report covers some of this action.
This report has two main components. The first is a study of four different indigenous language communities where languages are being maintained and where language maintenance efforts are being undertaken. These communities include Saibai Island in Torres Strait (Queensland) and Ringers Soak in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where the indigenous languages are in continuing use, and Borroloola (Northern Territory) and Kempsey (NSW) where the indigenous languages have gone out of daily use, but where programs to retrieve and revive them in some form are being undertaken.
The second main component of the report is a survey--in some fifty brief descriptions--of some of the activities being undertaken in different communities all over Australia, involving dozens of languages, in programs classified as language maintenance, language revival and language awareness.
This is supplemented by descriptions of specific activities and situations in selected places and programs overseas (including programs in New Zealand, Canada, USA, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea) as well as a coverage of some of the literature on language maintenance.
A number of significant issues are discussed including what constitutes success in indigenous language maintenance, the relationship between land and language, the role of indigenous elders and the need for indigenous control of language programs, the role of training, the role of linguists, and the role of literacy and language teaching in language maintenance programs.
The report presents a number of principles and recommendations to government and non-government organisations.
A central thread in the report is that past attempts to eradicate indigenous languages appear to have been part of a sustained program of denying the existence of indigenous Australians in an attempt to take over their country. Indigenous people are now asserting themselves, and their languages are one of the significant vehicles for this. Language maintenance should be seen as but one component of an overall approach to acknowledging the existence of indigenous Australians and providing social justice for them. Only the indigenous people themselves can maintain their languages in use and this requires them to take control of their own programs. Language is not something which can be restricted to education programs, but rather it permeates the whole life of a people and actively involves all generations.
The publication is available within Australia from Commonwealth Government bookshops for AU$16-95. It is Commisssioned Report No 44, of the Australian National Board of Employment, Education and Training.
To order by mail, contact:
The cost quoted above includes surface mail in Australia. Overseas mail costs extra and depends on the Australia Post rates in force at the time.
The following is taken from the Summer, 1991 issue (so the subscription rate may have changed since then):
"Native Peoples" (ISSN 0895-7606) is published quarterly for US$18 per year by Media Concepts Group, Inc., 1833 North Third Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1502...
Subscriber service: Address all correspondence to: P.O. Box 36820, Phoenix, Arizona 85067-6820 or call 602-252-2236...
The magazine is provided as a no-additional-cost benefit for members of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). For more details on that organization, which is part of the Smithsonian Museum system, you can check out their Web page at "http://www.si.edu/nmai/" Contact the National Campaign Office of NMAI, P.O. Box 65303, Washington, DC 20035, USA.
The Zia Pueblo in New Mexico and the Karuk Tribe in Northern California
For those wanting to order this book by Christine Sims, mentioned in Iatiku #2, The National Indian Policy Center e-mail address is
Four Hupa Songs, etc.
Ruth Bennett, rsb3(at)axe.humboldt.edu wrote to Nat-Lang on 23 April 1996:
I am very interested in dialogues with others with similar interests, and will send a copy of Ya:na'a'awh, Four Hupa Songs by Alice Pratt, --at no cost-- (book and audiotape) to those who make a request. Send me overland address, as I do not have a home page yet. k'iye niwhsiste
She now offers this update:
My address is Dr. Ruth Bennett, Ethnographic Researcher, Center for Community Development, Humboldt State University, Arcata, Ca., 95521. USA. Telephone: +1-707-826-5256.
Dictionary of the Frisian Language
Since 1984 the Fryske Akademy in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (NL) has published one volume of the Dictionary of the Frisian Language ('Wurdboek fan de Fryske Taal') every year. So 12 volumes have been published sofar. The dictionary is comparable to the 'Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal' or the German Grimm- dictionary. It offers a thorough description (in Dutch) of the West-Frisian language from 1800 onwards and is a solid reference work for anyone dealing with Frisian lexicology, morphology or dialectology.
To enable people who might be interested to subscribe to the series, which will be finished around 2008, the Fryske Akademy has a special arrangement. If you would like to know more about the dictionary and the arrangement, please e-mail Arjen Versloot:
Scots and its Literature.
Among the topics treated in Scots and its Literature are the status of Scots as a national language; the orthography of Scots; the actual and potential degree of standardization of Scots; the debt of the vocabulary of Scots to Gaelic; the use of Scots in fictional dialogue; and the development of Scots as a poetic medium in the modern period. All fourteen articles, written and published between 1979 and 1988, have been rescrutinised for this collection and extensively updated.J. Derrick McClure is a senior lecturer in the English Department at Aberdeen University and a well-known authority on the history of Scots.
Varieties of English Around the World, No. G14 vi, 218 pp., Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Language International World Directory of Sociolinguistic and Language Planning Organizations.
Francesc DOMINGUEZ, and Nuria LOPEZ (comps.)
This directory gives guidance in the complicated world of sociolinguistic and language planning organizations, giving structural information on regional, national, provincial and community level, both public and private. Each entry gives full details, including full addresses, phone/fax numbers, Director's name, and information on the organization's activities, programs, publications, work in progress and plans for the future.|"...it offers the opportunity to systematically study the question at which levels research is undertaken that relates to language planning....this directory opens up new possibilities of investigation and thus makes a genuine contribution to pursuing the unended quest of how - rather than whether - language can be planned." (Florian Coulmas, Sociolinguistic and Language Planning Organizations, Preface).
Language International World Directories, No. 1 xx, 530 pp. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Romani in Contact
A language of Indic origin heavily influenced by European idioms for many centuries now, Romani provides an interesting experimental field for students of language contact, linguistic minorities, standardization, and typology. Approaching the language as a language in contact, the volume gives expression to part of the wide range of research represented in today's field of Romani linguistics. Contributions focus on problems in typological change and structural borrowing, lexical borrowing and lexical reconstruction, the Iranian influence on the language, interdialectal interference, language mixing, Romani influences on slang and argot, grammatical categories in discourse, standardization and literacy in a multilingual community, and plagiarism of data in older sources. The authors discuss dialects spoken in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Serbia, Macedonia, Germany, Poland, and Romania, as well as related varieties in Spain and the Middle East.
Contributors: Vit Bubenik; Ian Hancock; Victor A. Friedman; Norbert Boretzky; Milena Hübschmannové, Peter Bakker, Anthony Grant, Yaron Matras, Corinna Leschber.
Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 126 xvii, 208 pp. Amsterdam: John Benjamins