Happy New Year

Dear friends of ELA,

First of all, allow us to wish all of you the Happiest of Gregorian (not to mention Julian) New Years! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued support as well as to give all of you a very brief summary of what we have accomplished this 2010 and where we hope to go in 2011.

The first major landmarks for us in 2010 were our official incorporation as a 501c3 non-profit organization and the New York Times article which highlighted our work. While the former allowed us to take our operation to a new level, the latter brought our work to the public eye and showed us just how many people there are out there with a similar passion for maintaining and understanding linguistic diversity. Although we only had a very short time to organize our general meetings over the summer, we felt they were successful in bringing together a fantastic range of people interested in our mission. It was the first step in forming a real grassroots initiative to address language endangerment in New York City.

We hope to make our language survey a regular summer activity and look forward to taking to the streets again with all of you this summer. With more time for us to consider the complex logistics, I’m sure this year’s program will be even more fruitful than the last.

In terms of organization, it must be said that we are learning as we go. One of our foremost new year’s resolutions is to improve the line of communication between us and all those interested in participating in our projects so we can be more efficient in placing volunteers. Sincerest apologies to all of you whom we have not been able to respond to as quickly as we wanted to. On a positive note – inefficiencies notwithstanding – we were able to initiate many new projects thanks to the enthusiasm of our new volunteers. As it now stands, we have regular meetings for the following language groups: Amuzgo, Mahongwe/Kota, Mamuju, Garifuna, Neo-Aramaic, Kabardian and Ossetian. We also hope to soon begin a new group for Shughni/Roshani this month or next. Some of these groups are focused on grammatical description while others are aimed at the creation of pedagogical materials. You are all invited to participate in these weekly sessions. Just contact Bien at coordinator[at]endangeredlanguagealliance.org for the schedule and more information.

2010 also brought us good luck in the form of grant support for several in-situ projects. Baitz Niahossa will carry out work on Tsou in Taiwan with support from the Alice Cozzi Heritage Language Foundation, and Natalia Bermudez has recently left for Panama, where, with the support of the Gesellscahft für Bedrohte Sprache, she will begin fieldwork on Naso (aka Teribe), an endangered Chibchan language.

Finally, some upcoming events:

The CUNY Conference on the Phonology of Endangered Languages will take place January 12 – 14, 2011 at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. The goal of the conference is to learn whatever we can from the sound patterns of languages that are endangered or threatened, with a special emphasis on understudied languages. For more information, see:https://cunyphonologyforum.net/endan.php

Daniel Kaufman will be holding a weekly workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center which is free and open to all. It will cover language documentation and description and will meet Thursdays 5:00-7:00 pm. Please email info[at]endangeredlanguagealliance.org for more details.

Best wishes to all of you for 2011…onwards and upwards!

ELA Co-Directors Daniel Kaufman, Juliette Blevins & Bob Holman

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