Language Legacies Grant Recipients - 2023
[MKARL] = MKARL Funding
[IPA] = International Phonetic Association Funding
[LPNW] = Languages of the Pacific Northwest
Michael Bulkaam "Documenting Cara, an endangered language of Nigeria" [MKARL]
This project aims to document, describe and analyze Cara [cfd], an endangered Central-Plateau language within Benue-Congo family spoken in Bassa LGA of Plateau State, Nigeria (Eberhard et al, 2023). Rapid word collection (RWC) sessions will be carried out to elicit data using the Comparative African Wordlist (CAWL) including video interviews on the culture of the language and collection of folktales and other methods for language documentation and archiving. Both words and texts will be recorded using zoom recorder, imported to ELAN for transcription (phonetically) and annotation before exporting to FLEx for full analysis and description of the data. And I will finally get it exported to MS words for publication of few copies for giving back to the community. The purpose of this research is largely to benefit the language community and to serve as contribution to linguistic science as revitalization efforts.
Julen Villarreal Moreno "Giñana School Project"
The Giñana School Project involves the creation of an after-school activity for the Bedik people. The activity will focus on the language and culture of this community. The Bedik (around 3,000 people) are a minority ethnic group from Senegal. They are speakers of Menik (tnr), which is an endangered language. Various factors are weakening the traditional transmission of Bedik language and culture, which relies on orality. In this context, the Giñana School Project aims at exploring new ways in which the Bedik children and teenagers can connect with their ancestral culture, via literacy, orality, and the arts. This pilot project will take place in two Bedik villages, and a former Menik literacy teacher will be hired. This initiative constitutes the continuation of the Giñana Books Project (2018-2022), which resulted in the publication of the book 'Becësal', where 163 traditional Bedik stories were compiled.
Siak Bie Soh "Documenting the Murut Paluan (plz) Language in Sabah, Malaysia" [MKARL]
The languages of the indigenous peoples of North Borneo, which are integral to their cultural heritage, are often neglected, due to the lack of governmental and institutional support and the cultural homogenisation advocated in the society. This project proposes to document Murut Paluan (plz), the least archived Murut indigenous sub-ethnic minority language (of the Western Austronesian Malayo-Polynesian language family). The vitality status of plz is classified as 6b- threatened, which is at risk of language shift, attrition, and death. Through ethnographic fieldwork, a total of high-quality 10 hours of audio and video recordings in WAV and MP4 respectively will be collected for plz orthographic transcription and Malay/ English translation alongside 40 images in JPG. These materials will then be annotated using ELAN tools. They will be deposited and archived for accessibility to a wider range of audiences. Activists, researchers, and linguists may further analyse the data from various perspectives.
Marie-Caroline Pons "Chepang Digital Dictionary" [MKARL], [IPA]
The proposed collaborative project aims at creating a digital dictionary of Chepang available online to all, Chepang community members and scholars, with the purpose of promoting literacy and easing language learning. This dictionary will offer phonetic and phonological transcriptions of Chepang vocabulary along with Nepali and English translations. In addition, it will include two orthographies recently proposed in Pons (2022:226-229), audio files for each entry and example sentence, and when suitable, illustrative photography. This version will primarily focus on the Chepang varieties spoken in the Lothar River basin located in Makawanpur and Chitwan districts, where the project team members have already collected over 3,000 lexical entries, and where more varieties will be explored. Through elicitation and corpus data, these entries will be extended to cover all lexical domains, with special attention given to those inclined to disappearance or borrowing replacement: agriculture, traditional craft, wild fauna and flora, kinship, and shamanism.
Martín Gabriel Ruiz "Documentación lingüística de las kashumbikuecha ka p’indekuecha: valores y costumbres comunales en el P’urhépecha de la Meseta (Comachuén)" [MKARL]
A pesar de la presencia de la lengua P’urhépecha en las escuelas de educación bilingüe intercultural de la zona, el afán para estandarizar la lengua ha llevado a la infravaloración de las variantes de la sierra alta, como es la variante de Comachuén. Si bien Comachuén suele identificarse como bastión del uso de la lengua, incluso en este pueblo de la sierra el uso ha disminuido en las últimas décadas debido a las políticas de asimilación de los gobiernos mexicanos y la migración hacia Estados Unidos. El financiamiento de ELF nos permitirá documentar las variantes P'urhépecha de la sierra alta habladas alrededor del pueblo de Comachuén, centrándonos en los contextos tradicionales (p'indekuecha) y situaciones (como la jarhojperakua, o ayudua mutua colectiva) en los que se usa el registro formal conocido como kashumbikua. También crearemos materiales de aprendizaje y de divulgación cultural para fortalecer y valorizar el uso de esta variedad.
(Despite the presence of the P'urhépecha language in the bilingual intercultural education schools in the area, the eagerness to standardize the language has led to the undervaluing of the high sierra variants, such as the Comachuén variant. While Comachuén is often identified as a bastion of language use, even in this highland town, use has declined in recent decades due to Mexican government assimilation policies and migration to the United States. ELF funding will allow us to document the highland P'urhépecha variants spoken around the town of Comachuén, focusing on traditional contexts (p'indekuecha) and situations (such as jarhojperakua, or collective mutual ayudua) in which the formal register known as kashumbikua is used. We will also create learning and cultural outreach materials to strengthen and enhance the use of this variety.)
Mariana Quintana Godoy "Zapoteco de San Mateo Mixtepec: primera documentación fónica" [IPA]
This project aims to document and describe the sounds of the Zapotec language spoken in San Mateo Mixtepec, Oaxaca and it is part of a larger and coordinated effort to document some of the most endangered and undocumented Zapotec languages. This language has no previous description or documentation, and has not received linguistic attention, despite having divergences from other languages in the family that could be key for a better understanding of Zapotecan dialectology. The project has several goals, but the most immediate ones are to begin documentation for general phonemic analysis, to do an updated assessment of endangerment, and to better discuss with the community the use and reach of the produced materials, as well as the consecutive goals they want for this project to have. This is the first step in what is intended to be a long-term commitment with the people of San Mateo and their language.
Ruben Morales Forte "LINGUISTIC VARIATION IN CH’ORTI’ MAYA LANGUAGE" [IPA]
This project focuses on linguistic variation in Ch’orti’ (ISO 639: caa), a Mayan language spoken in Southeastern Guatemala. Our research looks into dialectal diversity among speakers from eight hamlets in the municipality of Jocotán, Chiquimula, Guatemala. We seek to establish the parameters reigning over: (1) The use of pronouns in the incomepletive aspect; (2) the morphology of imperatives; (3) a base-5 counting system; (4) the distribution of the demonstrative pronoun era’ iran vs. eri’in; (5) morphology of color modifiers; (6) different realizations of the orthographic glottal stop (‘) following vowels; (7) the possible continuity of [h] in contexts where spelling retains only [x]; (8) The [b] to Ø/ #_ process in words such as (b)’ajram “jaguar”. This dialectal survey will legitimize local dialects currently washed under a standard official variety and provide meaningful input to the history of Ch’olan languages and Maya linguistics as a field.
Julio Morales Domingues "International Revitalization of Lachirioag Zapotec (ztc/zty)" [MKARL]
We will endeavor to create the first 4 chapters of an academic textbook for this language in 16 weeks. This textbook will be created by Dr. Michael Galant, a noted linguist from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and native speakers of Lachirioag Zapotec that have already garnered experience working with UCLA Linguists for 5 years or are current Zapotec consultants with the UCLA linguistics department. The resulting work will be disseminated to all Educators in San Cristobal Lachirioag for use in their curriculums, and our families in Los Angeles, CA to teach their kids at home. The resulting data will be publicly available via the SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx), a digital dictionary base.
Shea Sky "The Family Dialect Project" [MKARL]
Kanien'kéha, the Mohawk language, is in an endangered state and is currently spoken by approximately 2,350 people. The Family Dialect Project, created in 2022, records interviews with elderly first-language Kanien'kéha speakers as they recount details of events over the course of their lives, personal achievements, and family histories. The videos are edited, then transcribed in the original language, before being translated into English. The interviews are all individually catered to the individual, with interview guides made in collaboration with family members. All materials produced are given to the family to retain their history, to continue or begin their own personal language revitalization efforts. The interview process itself constitutes an invaluable effort to bring the remaining Kanien'kéha-speaking community closer together, while the creation of the materials further advances the fluency of everyone involved in the project.
Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada "Documentation of Glottalized Resonants in Kwak'wala (Wakashan, Pacific Northwest)" [IPA], [LPNW]
This project is focused on the documentation of glottalized resonants in Kwak̓wala (Glottocode: kwak1269; ISO 639-3: kwk), a critically endangered Northern Wakashan language in the Canadian Pacific Northwest. In particular, we will document and investigate Kwak̓wala glottalized resonants in diverse contexts in collaboration with fluent first-language speakers in and around Alert Bay, BC. The goals of the project are twofold: first, to create a documentary record that can serve both typological research interests and studies of diachronic change — given recent observations about the loss of glottalized resonants in the speech of younger generations in the community — and second, to carry out a systematic study of the acoustic properties of these cross-linguistically rare consonants. The results of the study will in turn inform the field of Linguistics and ongoing community-based revitalization initiatives by second-language Kwak̓wala learners to improve their perception and production of this type of sound.
Gabriel Gallinate "Ese Ejja story books - Recovering myths and traditional stories through writing"
This project aims to document, revitalize and preserve the myths and traditional stories of the Ese Ejja people in Bolivia, spoken in the Amazon. The proposal involves the creation of recordings of the extant knowledge the Ese Ejja still have with respect to their myths, which has been lost as their transmission decreased. This knowledge will then be written by native speakers of this language to obtain versions of the stories that can be then put into a book using their own writing system. This material will be printed and distributed across the Ese Ejja communities and made available online. In the end, this resource will serve as a reference for linguistic information, but more importantly, it will bring back the stories (and hopefully new storytellers) that this riverine people have lost.
Fabiana Nahuelquir "Amulepe Taiñ Folil – Que sigan adelante nuestras raíces [May our roots live on] Nguträn: historias reales del pueblo Mapuche-Tehuelche y la revitalización de la lengua Mapuzugun" [MKARL]
The current project proposal is to continue a linguistic revitalization project which consists in registering oral stories, called Nguträns in Mapuzugun, the Mapuche-Tehuelche language, into a booklet to be used by the community school and widening the use and the audience of the booklet. We would like to be able to finish up the booklet, which comprises a series of activities, including trips to the Andean community where these Nguträns have been told, Wiñoy Leufu - Vuelta del Rio in Mapuzugun-, and engaging the community in the whole process.
Wendy Katherine Fernandez Vargas "Podcast Aingae para la promoción de la lengua y la cultura" [MKARL]
Este proyecto tiene como objetivo producir una serie digital de podcast sobre la diversidad y sabiduría botánica sobre la cual el pueblo Cofán fabrica sus medicinas tradicionales para curar y prevenir enfermedades. Dado que la generación más vieja del pueblo cofán están extinguiéndose y con ellos se desvanece ese conocimiento, este proyecto se vuelve urgente de implementar, antes de que nuestro pueblo cofán pierda a sus últimos sabios expertos en esta comprensión ancestral del entorno que les rodea. Pretendemos con esta serie de podcast implementar una estrategia de promoción y divulgación de estos conocimientos que hacen parte de nuestra tradición cultural, para que las generaciones más jóvenes se sientan atraídas a explorar en este legado de nuestro grupo. Produciremos un podcast con 10 capítulos, transcripciones y traducciones de una selección de narraciones de los podcast, fotos de las plantas relevantes, y metadatos del material producido.
(This project aims to produce a digital podcast series on the botanical diversity and wisdom upon which the Cofan people make their traditional medicines to cure and prevent disease. Since the older generation of the Cofán people are dying out and with them this knowledge is vanishing, this project becomes urgent to implement, before our Cofán people lose their last wise experts in this ancestral understanding of the environment that surrounds them. We intend with this series of podcasts to implement a strategy of promotion and dissemination of this knowledge that is part of our cultural tradition, so that the younger generations feel attracted to explore this legacy of our group. We will produce a podcast with 10 chapters, transcriptions and translations of a selection of narrations from the podcasts, photos of the relevant plants, and metadata of the material produced.)
Monic Rocío Jansasory Tandioy "Memorias de mujeres Inga" [MKARL]
La lengua Inga, hablada en el municipio de Santiago (Putumayo-Colombia) pertenece a la familia lingüística quechua. Es una de las lenguas menos estudiadas de esta familia. En Santiago habitan unos 4901 Ingas (Censo-Cabildo 2022). Esta comunidad atraviesa un proceso crítico de pérdida de la lengua. Los hablantes que tienen competencias en distintos registros y géneros discursivos, se limitan a la población mayor de 65 años; una población cada vez más reducida. Las personas entre 30 y 65 años, son hablantes pasivos. El resto de la población ya no hablan, solo conocen saludos o términos básicos. En la comunidad, existen pocas iniciativas para el fortalecimiento de la lengua. Ante esta situación, proponemos realizar una documentación del idioma desde el trabajo con mujeres mayores, y la creación de materiales que puedan ser usados en procesos de revitalización. La documentación incluirá grabaciones audiovisuales, transcripciones y traducciones de parte del material, fotografías, y metadatos.
(The Inga language, spoken in the municipality of Santiago (Putumayo-Colombia) belongs to the Quechua linguistic family. It is one of the least studied languages of this family. Some 4901 Ingas live in Santiago (Census-Cabildo 2022). This community is going through a critical process of language loss. Speakers who are proficient in different registers and discourse genres are limited to the population over 65 years of age, a population that is becoming smaller and smaller. People between the ages of 30 and 65 are passive speakers. The rest of the population no longer speak, they only know greetings or basic terms. In the community, there are few initiatives to strengthen the language. In view of this situation, we propose to document the language by working with older women and creating materials that can be used in revitalization processes. The documentation will include audiovisual recordings, transcriptions and translations of some of the material, photographs, and metadata.)
Mario Alemán "Documentation of Quito Quichua, an urban Quechuan variety facing imminent language shift" [MKARL]
Quito Quichua (ISO 639-3: [qud]) is a critically endangered urban variety of Ecuadorian Highland Quichua spoken by a few elders in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. While other neighboring dialects of Quichua, such as those of Imbabura and Cotopaxi, have significant documentation, Quito Quichua remains critically understudied. This project seeks to follow up on the previous small sample of documentation on the Quito dialect. It proposes the production of (1) a vocabulary and some glossed texts, which will both be compiled into a book destined for community use and online publication, and (2) a digital collection to be archived at the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA).