2019 – A Year of Languages

ELA’s network — linguists, community leaders, language activists, speakers, students, and ordinary New Yorkers — has been working all year to bring resources and attention to the languages and cultures that need them. Here are just a few of the highlights:

In January, we continued our tradition of hosting language classes in less commonly taught languages, with Lenape and Quechua classes going all year long. In February, we celebrated International Mother Language Day with our Lower East Side Language Marathon, which featured poems, songs, jokes, and proverbs in over a dozen languages from Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia, and elsewhere, all now spoken in NYC. March and April saw regular releases of subtitled recordings in the Pamiri languages of Tajikistan from our 2018 fieldwork. May was the culmination of our Songs and Singers of the Himalayan Diaspora project, with a major concert held at the Sherpa temple in Jackson Heights. In June we submitted the final report for our collaboration with the New York City Department of Health looking at the linguistic, cultural and health background of indigenous Latin American communities in New York.

In July we presented at NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and in August we headed to Nepal for fieldwork on Seke, a language spoken by fewer than 700 primarily in five villages of Nepal (and in Brooklyn!). In September, we partnered with the radio station WNYC on Micropolis, a unique live language event, and October saw us dive into our new collaborative partnership on mapping languages in cities, thanks to a Wall Solutions grant. In November we finished recording for our Ladino New York project, set to launch next year, and in December we formally launched the Languages of New York City map after several years’ work, drawing wide coverage.

To learn more about our other new initiatives, from our in-progress archive to our partnerships with speakers of dozens of languages and our talks and events across the country — visit our website or our Youtube channel, featuring hundreds of languages and stories you will hear nowhere else.

We hope to see you in 2020, our 10th anniversary year. Big things are in the works: an unprecendented outreach effort for the U.S. Census, a workshop for indigenous language interpreters, a digital version of the NYC language map, and more. Please contribute to help us make it all happen!

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