Foundation for Endangered Languages
2. Development of the Foundation
First Workshop (and 2nd AGM) , Univ of York, 26-27 July 1997: Call for Participation
Most members who receive this will already have had brief details of this (with their renewal notice) from Andrew Woodfield, our Secretary. Here is a full statement of our programme, to which you are very cordially invited!
Steps in Language Rescue
1. Minutes of last AGM
General Meeting, 6 April 1997, Edinburgh
Opened at 2:10 p.m., in Room B9, Adam Ferguson Building, Edinburgh University
Present: Nicholas Ostler (Chair-NO), Mahendra Verma (MV), David Nash, Jane Simpson, Alice Turk (until 2:30), Christopher Moseley (CM - from 3 p.m.), Heather King, Greville Corbett (GC), Jean Ure, Karen Birtwistle, Russell Norton; Mark Donohue, Siamak Rezaei (visitors, since joined); Joan Bresnan, Rachel Nordlinger (visitors).
Apologies: Andrew Woodfield (Secretary).
Dr David Nash kindly volunteered to take the minutes of the meeting, which are now written up by the Chairman.
1. Minutes of AGM and Matters Arising:
2. Election of New Treasurer:
NO announced that the major formalities had been completed to empower MV as acting treasurer - i.e. joint signatory with himself on the Foundation’s account. MV had also received all documents from Daniel Nettle, the outgoing treasurer. MV was appointed acting treasurer until the appointment of Oliver Dow was completed.
3. Annual General Meeting - 26-27 July 1997 - York:
The dates for the meeting were confirmed, and MD volunteered to work out a programme for the meeting, with help from NO.
4. Active Volunteers:
5. Grant Application:
One reply had been received, from Valentin Vydrine in St.Petersburg. This concerned a proposed expedition to Mali, to explore the status of the Kakolo language. MV asked about references. Gerald Corbett suggested that the request be conveyed to the Philological Society, in case they might offer a source of matching funds. Jean Ure asked whether it was planned to publish corpora in the language, especially taped corpora, and raised the issue of prestige languages. NO proposed offering the applicant the maximum grant of 500 dollars US, on condition that funding was found for the rest of the budget. The matter was carried over to the next meeting, with a requested.
6. Volunteer report on Museums’ reaction to FEL Display Contributions
7. Offer from Philological Society to publish Grammars
8. Foundation’s Logo
9. Presentations on Endangerment Situations
10. Matters arising from the Presentations
The meeting closed at 4:55 p.m.
Languages of central Australia: current status
Drs Jane Simpson (U Sydney) and David Nash (AIATSIS)
The situation of Aboriginal languages is changing rapidly, often to the detriment of the languages; “young people’s Djirbal” was quoted, whose speakers are ashamed to use it before their elders; and literacy among Alyawarra children. (10 years ago those children who attended school did so in Alyawarra, now there is more school, but all of it in Aboriginal English.)
A useful table was proposed of how documentation activities can be useful in maintaining languages.
Documenting Can Help To Maintain:
There was some discussion of possible complementary strategies (with English) for the maintenance of Aboriginal traditions and languages: e.g. Sesame Street (under the name of Manyu-Wana) is now available in Warlpiri. The pop group Yothu Yindi have also given a global stage to some of the issues involved. Kurdish, and a project to provide Kurdish materials over the Internet
Siamak Rezaei (U Edinburgh) gave a quick overview of the size of Kurdish, with 8 million Kurds in Iran, 5 million in Iraq and 15 million in Turkey. (The million ethnic Kurds in the former Soviet Union have lost the language.) The language has two principal dialects, Northern and Southern, with a further 1-2 million speaking the Zaza dialect in Turkey/Syria; Sufi/Shia or Sunni affilation within Islam appear to correlatae somewhat with dialect. Kurdish is written in Arabic and Latin scripts (Cyrillic no more). LittleKurdish is taught in Turkey or Iran, and the Iranian consitution, although it permits Kurdish literature, forbids teaching in the language.
He described the principal contents of his web site