Foundation for Endangered Languages
6. Forthcoming FEL Conference: Endangered Languages - What Role for the Specialist? Edinburgh, 25-27 September 1998
The workshop will provide a forum for researchers and activists working for the maintenance of indigenous languages that face an uncertain future.
Conference Scope and Aims In recent years, number of support organizations have established themselves, all aiming to mobilize research effort, popular opinion and money in defence of declining languages.
The question is often raised of how these outsiders can really help the cause that they have identified. Language communities must have inner strength in order to survive, or at least the will and the means to go on using their traditional tongues. Outside organizations, however well-meaning, cannot supply such qualities directly. Some ask whether the organizations even have the right to try to interfere.
This conference, the second organized by the Foundation for Endangered Languages, is seeking answers to one part of this question. How can language specialists, whether professional linguists, educators, media professionals or whoever, actually contribute to language maintenance?
We shall be looking for testimony on the actual effects of professional involvement on small language communities throughout the world: both community members, and the professionals themselves will have their tales to tell.
We do not expect a common set of conclusions to emerge from this sharing of experience and analysis. But we shall be looking at the variety we find, and asking if it points to a good way to define the roles of the support organizations: how they can complement one another, perhaps sharing techniques, perhaps transmitting knowledge?
Some Themes addressed:
When does the professional best act as an external consultant, when as a team-player?
What are useful relations:
What have been great successes in specialist language work, and what motivated the people responsible?
How does local work benefit from EL support organizations with a global or continental view? Is the need for technical assistance, production of materials, publicity, funding, political agitation?
Should EL support organizations themselves specialize?
If so how: regionally, or by function?
The dates will be 25-27 September 1998, and the venue the Pollock Halls in Edinburgh. There will be a preliminary volume of proceedings distributed at the Conference.
Presentations will last twenty minutes each, with a further ten minutes for discussion. All presentations should be accessible largely in English, but use of the languages of interest, for quotation or exemplification, may well be appropriate.
Besides the formal sessions there will be a social events, including a visit to local sights in Edinburgh.
· Dr Nicholas Ostler Foundation for Endangered Languages, Bath, England
Friday, 25 September
Session 1: Endangered Languages: What Role for the Specialist?
2.30 Nicholas Ostler Welcome: the Foundation, and the Conference
2.55 Briony Williams Local introduction
3.00 Donna B. Gerdts Keynote Address: The Linguist in Language Revitalization Programmes Salishan, Canada
Session 2 Un peu d’histoire…
4:30 Kim Hardie Role of Specialists: the Case of Flemish in Belgium Germanic
5.00 Jens Eberhard Jahn Istria: Between Regional Ethnic Awakening And Nationalism Rom./Slav./Alban., Adriatic
5.30 Ken Mackinnon The Past and Future of Scots Gaelic Celtic, UK
Saturday, 26 September
Session 3 Successful interactions
9.30 Mick Mallon A Partnership: Two Old Men Eskimo
10.00 Jon Reyhner, Gina Cantoni What Educators Can Do to Aid Community Efforts at Indigenous Language Maintenance and Revitalization USA
Session 4 Understanding the Language from the Inside
11.30 N. Louanna Furbee, Lori Stanley and Tony Arkeketa Two Kinds of Expert in Language Renewal Siouan, USA
12.00 Roberto Bolognesi Standardization of Endangered Languages: the Case of Sardinian Romance, Italy
12.30 Veronica Grondona Endangered languages, their speakers and the language specialist: the case of Mocovi Waikuruan, Argentina
2:30 Session 5 Annual General Meeting
Session 6 Understanding the Language from the Outside
4:30 Diego Quesada Competing Interpretations of History: What if they are Wrong? Chibchan, Costa Rica
5.00 Tapani Salminen Minority Languages in a Society in Turmoil: the case of the Northern Languages of the Russian Federation Ural./Tungus./ Turk/Paleosib.
5.30 M. Lynn Landweer Indicators of Ethnolinguistic Vitality: Case Study of Two Languages, Labu and Vanimo Austronesian/Sko, NiuGini
Sunday, 27 September
Session 7 The New Role of Information Technology
9.30 Bojan Petek Slovenian Language in the Information Age Slav, Slovenia
10.00 RC MacDougall Effects and Defects of E-mail Mohawk, US
10.30 Mari Rhydwen Strategies for Doing the Impossible Australia
Session 8 Taking Stock
11.30 Hilaire Valiquette First Things First: on Language Preservation/Revitalization Efforts USA
12.00 Akira Yamamoto Language Community, Scientific Community and Mutually Supported Community USA
12.30 All Final Discussion