The Language Revitalization Working Group critically examines theories, methodologies, and applications of language revitalization in a variety of world contexts. It provides a centralized venue for interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners of language revitalization to share, present, discuss, and improve their language revitalization efforts. In 2021-2022, we are co-sponsored by the Center for Race & Gender, the Townsend Center, and the Center for Latin American Studies.
In Spring 2022, we will meet (roughly) every other week, on Wednesdays from 4-5 in a hybrid format: if you're on campus you can join us in person, and if you're not, you can join via Zoom. Additional meeting times/dates are marked with an asterisk (*) below.
For more information, or to be added to our mailing list or bCourses site, please contact Martha Schwarz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Allegra Roberson (email@example.com). If you'd like to attend any of our events but have questions/concerns about accessibility or other accommodations, please reach out via email!
Spring 2022 Meeting Schedule:
January 26: Poetry and Language Revitalization
* February 7: Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil (Ayutla Mixe / COLMIX)
Tequiologies: Indigenous Solutions Against Climate Catastrophe
February 9: Janet Chávez Santiago (Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec)
Enjoying the Zapotec language and culture: experiences in creating sources and teaching Dixza [view poster]Zapotec is a broad language that varies by region, and as it changes from town to town, the ways of passing on the language are also different. In the very particular variant of my town, Teotitlán del Valle, Zapotec is acquired orally within the family and from the community, social, and political life. However, nowadays many families are speaking to their children only in Spanish, and youth are drawn towards Spanish-dominant language. In seeking to contribute with the creation of new alternatives to learn and enjoy the Zapotec language, culture, and traditions, I have worked on putting together the structure for a basic Zapotec course. In this talk, I would like to discuss some of the challenges that I have faced, such as not having an standardized orthography and the lack of content in the language, and most importantly, I would like to share the Zapotec achievements and enjoyments.
February 23: Mother Language Day Cooking Show Celebration
- Tvetene Carlson; Ahtna; Arctic blueberry pancakes
- Annabel Rabiyah; Iraqi Jewish dialect of Arabic; beidth bsamak (eggs with fish)
- Muriel Ammon (Tsnungwe); Hupa; qo:-nehwa:n mił k’iwe:whe’ (eggy rice)
- Maura Adela Cruz and Sarah Orozco; Zapoteco de Santa Maria Jaltianguis; squash blossom quesadillas
- Ataya Cesspoooch; Noohahpahgup (Ute language); Ahpoos peeyavanna (apple crisp)
- Tzintia Montaño; Mixtec of Puebla and Spanish; Mole family recipe
- Irene Yi; Mandarin; 鸡蛋西红柿 / ji dan xi hong shi (eggs and tomatoes)
March 9: Nubantood Khalil (Nubian Language Society)
Nobiin Revitalization, A desperate battle against time to restore a disappearing language [view poster]
March 16: Ed Fields (Cherokee Nation)
The UC Berkeley Language Revitalization Working Group, Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization, History of Art Department, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley, and the American Indian Graduate Program at UC Berkeley are proud to host a special conversation with Ed Fields, citizen of Cherokee Nation and Cherokee language instructor at Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah Oklahoma. Mr. Fields grew up speaking Cherokee and actively preserves the language by teaching Cherokee at all levels. His classes are full of traditional Cherokee folklore from his childhood. He is widely regarded as a Cherokee national treasure.
Please register for the Zoom link here.
April 13: Jenny Davis (Chickasaw Nation / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Indigenous language futurism and the temporalities of language reclamation
The revitalization or reclamation of Indigenous and endangered languages is often driven or shaped by what Erin Debenport (2015) calls ‘hopeful nostalgia,’ where if “read through the lens of nostalgia, language revitalization can be seen as both a symptom and a cure, a way to diagnose the amount of cultural loss and a way to reinstate what has gone missing, what has been taken, and what is seen to be vital to the health of the community” (111). By definition then, language reclamation looks to the past in order to understand the present and to imagine radical linguistic futures. While the past is often privileged in discussions of language revitalization as an anchor of authenticity and cultural continuity, present day language use in revitalization contexts also utilizes comics, gaming, memes, and other creative and technological domains that position Native American languages as always simultaneously ‘once and future.’ In this talk, I consider the role of these Indigenous linguistic and cultural temporalities in understanding Indigenous language activism with particular interest in linguistic futurisms, or the imagining of Indigenous languages in Indigenous perspectives of the past, present, and future.
April 27: Gabriela Pérez Báez (Language Revitalization Lab, University of Oregon)
Increasing inclusion in academia in support of language
The Global Survey of Language Revitalization Efforts showed that out of 245 surveys collected from around the world, 29% of assets that facilitate the efforts and 45% of needs that hamper them, relate to support (Pérez Báez et al, 2019). Among these, an important type of support is that related to cooperation, including collaborations between language communities and academia. This presentation begins with some of these data as backdrop for examples of collaborations. The first is about efforts to document the lexicon of Diidxazá (zai, Otomanguean) which include the publication of a specialized ethnobotanical dictionary (Pérez Báez et al 2019). The second, is the long-standing National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous languages which has now served 141 tribal representatives from 65 language communities (Baldwin et al 2018). The third is the recent launching of Living Languages-Lenguas Vivas-Línguas Vivas, the first international, multilingual journal dedicated to topics in language revitalization and sustainability. The journal has developed a novel structure for publication and peer-review that is inclusive of revitalization practitioners who are not in academia (Amaral et al 2022). While these projects are rather different from each other –documentation, capacity building and dissemination—they illustrate how academia can evolve to increase inclusion and be more collaborative in support of language revitalization.
Fall 2021 Meeting Schedule:
December 1: Ataya Cesspooch (Fort Peck Sioux / Assiniboine / UC Berkeley)
November 17: David McLeod (Ojibway / Métis / Native Communications Incorporated) & Brian Wright-McLeod (Dakota / Anishnabe / York University)
Indigenous Music and Radio in Canada
November 3: Eva Garroutte (Cherokee Nation, Boston College)
First Contact! As Told by a Cherokee Historian of the Secret Nighthawk Keetoowah Society in 1905 [View recorded presentation here]
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Dr. Eva Marie Garroutte taught in the Departments of Sociology and the Native American Studies program at the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) and at Boston College (Massachusetts). She is a Research Association professor at Boston College and now lives on the Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma.
October 20: Prem Phyak (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
October 6: Claire Bowern, Sarah Babinski, Juhyae Kim, Jeremiah Jewell, Amelia Lake, Kassandra Haakman, Shayley Martin, Marisa Norzagaray, and Irene Yi (Yale)
Contemporary Digital Linguistics and the Archive: An Urgent Archival Audit [abstract here]
September 22: Language revitalization materials show-and-tell!
Bring any language revitalization materials that you've been working on, that you've used in the past, or that you are inspired by. We will have a round-robin-style show-and-tell along with time for discussion. We'll ask everyone to briefly describe their material, what they liked about it, and what they didn't particularly like or would like feedback on. So we can get a sense of how many people will have things to share, please email us if you'd like to share something! You can write to Martha Schwarz (firstname.lastname@example.org), Allegra Roberson (email@example.com), or Julia Nee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
September 1: Catching up
Come get to know your fellow LRWG-ers and share your hopes and goals for the upcoming semester!
Spring 2021 Meeting Schedule:
January 27: Discussion of "Toward racial justice in linguistics: Interdisciplinary insights into theorizing race in the discipline and diversifying the profession"
Join us for a discussion of the above article by Charity Hudley, Mallinson, and Bucholtz in the December 2020 volume of Languaeg, as well as the response articles in the same volume.
February 3: Ruth Rouvier & Julia Nee give practice talks for ICLDC7
February 17: *Please note special time, 3:40-5:00pm PST* Alex Chang, Ash Cornejo, Zaphiel K. Miller, Irene Yi, and Sharon Marcos, "Presentations from Language Revitalization in Fall 2020"
Ash Cornejo (3:40-3:55) - "Indigenous Plant Identification: An Interactive Mapping Project"
Alex Chang (3:55 - 4:10) - "Taiwanese Revitalization Through Song Annotation"
Irene Yi (4:10-4:25) - "Chumash Language Learning Through Storytelling, Illustration, and Body Reclamation"
Zaphiel K. Miller (4:25-4:40) - "Uchinaa Language Reclamation through Music"
Sharon Marcos (4:40 - 4:55) - "I AM HERE FOR MYSELF: Affirmations of Self Love in Q'anjob'al"
March 3: Víctor Cata and Rosemary Beam de Azcona, "Challenging the reader: la traducción de lenguas minoritarias a lenguas coloniales"
This talk will be held bilingually in English & Spanish / Se presenta de manera bilingüe español-inglés
March 17: Yuliana Kenfield (Western Oregon University), "Decoloniality & Coloniality within Sociolinguistics Ideological Practices in Higher Education"
Andean college students in Cusco, Peru, struggle to overcome sociolinguistic discrimination against Quechua-Spanish bilingualism during their pursuit of higher education. To examine this situation and possibilities for change, I employed a participatory method, photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1994) within a community-based participatory research framework, to facilitate bilingual college students’ exploration of Quechuan practices in their university. Findings of this participatory study explain how bilingual participants contributed to community critical awareness of Quechua-Spanish bilingual ideologies in Cusco when presenting their visual metaphors during photo interventions. Participants shared personal experiences to maintaining their Quechua language(s) and shared their proposals for encouraging their university to create a fertile terrain for bilingualism, rooting out ideologies of deficits toward Quechua, and promoting Quechua practices in college.
In sum, this presentation shares concepts arising from voices within the data. It illustrates the ways students’ efforts and visions create spaces for their Quechua practices to flourish despite hindrances from their university. The chapters respond to the following questions: What issues do the photovoice participants, Andean college students, raise related to opportunities to use their Quechua at college? What do they propose to transform this reality?
March 31: Screening of Guardians of the Forest
April 14: No meeting
April 28: Kahtehrón:ni Stacey (Kahnawà:ke Education Center)
May 5: Melissa Campobasso, Hearts Gathered Waterfall School: A Salish Montessori Immersion School
Fall 2020 Meeting Schedule:
August 26: Welcome back!
During this meeting, we'll take some time to share a bit about ourselves, our interests, and what we're hoping to learn over the course of the semester.
September 2: Henry Sales (This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies)
My name is Henry Sales, I am from Guatemala, a native Mam speaker, from the town of San Juan Atitán, I currently live in Oakland, CA. I speak Mam, Spanish and English, and I have a passion for preserving Mayan language and traditions, as well as providing for the underserved Mayan populations in the U.S. I used to work as a Mam language interpreter, co-founder of the Mayan dance and performance group, I lead the Mayan soccer team, teach a Mam language class at Laney College and Oakland High with Mam speakers, worked at the San Francisco public library, and coordinate volunteer, outreach, and service events for and with various Mayan communities. Above all I take pride in celebrating the Mayan language and culture and I invite you to do the same. I am an activist, a teacher, a volunteer, and an advocate for mistreated and underrepresented Mayan populations. I am an Administrative Assistant Trilingual III at the Rudsdale Newcomer High School.
*September 10: Wes Leonard (Miama Tribe of Oklahoma & UC Riverside)
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, September 10 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (email@example.com) for a Zoom link.
*September 23: Vincent Medina (Muwekma Ohlone) & Louis Trevino (Rumsen Ohlone) on "Recovering Ohlone"
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, September 23 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a Zoom link.
September 30: Sumittra Suraratdecha (This event is co-sponsored by the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at Berkeley)
*October 8: Angel Sobotta (Nez Perce Language Program) on "Story Work and Star Work"
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, October 8 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (email@example.com) for a Zoom link.
October 14: Ideological Clarification
Discussion of Roche (2019) "Does Ideological Clarification Help Language Maintenance?" (reading available on bCourses or via email firstname.lastname@example.org).
*October 15: Trisha Moquino and a Virtual Field trip to Keres Children's Learning Center
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, October 15 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (email@example.com) for a Zoom link.
*October 22: Zalmai Zahir (Lushootseed Language Program)
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, October 22 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a Zoom link.
*October 27: Cheryl Tuttle (Round Valley Schools) on "Games and Language Play"
Note: this talk takes place Tuesday, October 27 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Beth Piatote (email@example.com) for a Zoom link.
*November 5: Isaac Bleaman (UC Berkeley) on "Revitalizing Hebrew and Maintaining Yiddish"
Note: this talk takes place Thursday, November 5 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Line Mikkelsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a Zoom link.
*November 17: Greg Sutterlict (Yakima Language Program) on "COVID and Language Revitalizaiton"
Note: this talk takes place Tuesday, November 17 from 2-3:30pm. Contact Beth Piatote (email@example.com) for a Zoom link.
December 9: Discussion of Saiakwatsirón:ni - We Are Reigniting the Fire: Regeneration of Kanien’kéha Silent Speakers by Kahentéhtha Angela Elijah
Spring 2020 Meeting Schedule:
January 29: When a community isn't asking for language revitalization, what's next?
A discussion of ethics around how/whether to talk about language endangerment in communities where the language isn't seen as endangered, guided by two readings:
Henze, Rosemary and Kathryn Davis. 1999. “Authenticity and Identity: Lessons from Indigenous Language Education.” Anthropology & Education 30(1): 3-21.
Pérez-Báez, G. (2014.) Addressing the gap between community beliefs and priorities and researchers’ language maintenance interests. In G. Pérez-Báez, C. Rogers, & J. E. Rosés Labrada (Eds.) Language Documentation and Revitalization in Latin American Contexts (pp. 165-194). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
For access to these readings, please email Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 12: A discussion with Mary Hermes (University of Minnesota)
In anticipation of Mary Hermes's talk at Fieldwork Forum at 4pm, we'll be reading and discussing selected papers from Hermes, and she will join us for a discussion of that work. We will read "Designing Indigenous Language Revitalization" (Hermes, Bang, and Marin 2012) and "New Domain for Indigenous Language Acquisition and Use in the USA and Canada" (Hermes, Cash Cash, Donaghy, Erb, and Penfield 2016). For access to the readings, consult our bCourses page or write to email@example.com.
February 26: Language revitalization in contexts where English isn't the matrix language: How do you prioritize multilingual language learning when access to English isn't guaranteed?
March 4: Participatory Action Research in Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec Language Revitalization (Julia Nee, UC Berkeley) (note: talk from 2-3, questions until 3:30)
One common barrier to language revitalization is the presence of an “ideology of contempt” towards a language as a result of colonial and racist practices (Dorian, 1998). But the role of language ideologies in shaping language use is profound (Silverstein, 1979; Wollard & Schieffelin, 1994; Irvine & Gal, 2000; Kroskrity, 2006; among others), and language revitalization projects will not be successful in the long run if the negative language attitudes that supported language loss are not addressed (Dauenhauer & Dauenhauer, 1998; Hinton, 2001; Bradley, 2002; Beier & Michael, 2018). In strategizing ways to revitalize Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec use through Participatory Action Research, or PAR (White et al., 1991; Czaykowska-Higgins, 2009; Tuck, 2009; Martin et al., 2018), involving interviews, focus groups, and photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1997) with language activists, parents, and children, one common theme that emerged was the importance not only of teaching linguistic forms and structures, but also of building a supportive community of language learners and users. In this talk, I explore how PAR was implemented in Teotitlán, and how insights gained through using this methodology have allowed for improvements to the Zapotec language camps for kids that have been hosted since 2017. Specifically, I consider speaker-learner interactions and student-generated work (such as creative storybooks) to better understand the ways in which community-building activities such as field trips to archaeological sites increase learner investment (Pavlenko, 2001; Riestenberg & Sherris, 2018) and lead to greater acquisition and use of Zapotec among children. Additionally, I respond to previous calls in the literature to expand the range of genres studied in language documentation (Meek, 2011; Vallejos, 2016), and I argue for the importance of documenting the language revitalization process itself as a way to better understand how language is (or is not) being transmitted intergenerationally.
March 18: Radical/non-uniform/multiliterate approaches to orthography development
This week, we will read and discuss the following two articles, available on bCourses. The discussion will take place virtually via Zoom, and a link will be sent out at 2 on Wednesday.
April 1: Using historical documents with language learners in revitalization
This discussion, led by Edwin Ko, focuses on ways in which historical documents can be used with learners as part of language revitalization. As part of this discussion, it's recommended that you read "Ethics and Revitalization of Dormant Languages: The Mutsun Language" (Warner, Luna, & Butler 2007 in Language Documentation & Conservation) and "Teaching Wailaki: Archives, Interpretation, and Collaboration" (Begay, Spence, & Tuttle, Manuscript - not for circulation). Both articles are available at our bCourses page.
April 15: Developing pedagogical materials
In this discussion, led by Emily Drummond, we'll consider how education, language documentation, and pedagogical materials creation intersect and interact. Our discussion will be grounded by "Integrating Documentation and Formal Teaching of Kari'nja: Documentardy Materials as Pedagogical Materials" (Yamada 2011) and "Is Revitalization Through Education Possible?" (Hornberger & De Korne 2018, in the Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization).
April 29: Reflection on how we will incorporate what we've talked about this semester into our upcoming projects
Fall 2019 Meeting Schedule:
September 05: Welcome!
At our first meeting, we'll all introduce ourselves and discuss our interests in this group. We'll go over some proposed readings/speakers for this semester. As a way to frame the discussion, we invite you to read Hinton_2018_Introduction_What_is_Language_Revitalization.pdf in order to frame your ideas about what language revitalization is in relation to others' ideas.
September 19: The role of universities in language revitalization
This week, we'll discuss the past, current, and future role(s) that Universities play in language revitalization. To ground our discussion, we invite you to read this article by Little et al. about a community-university partnership in Canada, alongside the McGill Vision Statement"Bridging communities and universities through language engagement." Closer to home here at UC Berkeley, we also encourage you to consider the chapter by Baldwin, Hinton, and Perez-Baezon Breath of Life from the Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization alongside the report on Native American collections in archives on the UC Berkeley campus. Some questions we'll likely discuss include: (1) what barriers to collaboration exist and how can we in our (multiple) roles work to address them? (2) how do the goals of different individuals, groups, and institutions work together or challenge one another? (3) what alternatives to the current model could we propose?
October 3: Decolonizing methodologies
Join us for a discussion of decolonizing methodologies, facilitated by Lissett Bastidas. It is recommended to read the works listed below, and to conder the following questions:
1. Why is an Indigenous creation story that may or may not have a chronology usually considered in academia a myth and not part of history nor religious studies?
2. Can that change? How?
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2012. Decolonizing Methodologies. Pp. 26-41
Kovach, Margaret. 2010. Ch 4 "Applying a Decolonizing Lens within Indigenous Research Frameworks." In Indigenous Methodologies. Pp. 75-93
Optional: Teaiwa, Teresia. 2014. "The Ancestors We Get to Choose: White Influences I Won't Deny." In Theorizing Native Studies edited by Audra Simpson and Andrea Smith. Pp. 43-53.
October 17: Ways to assess
Join us for a presention and discussion of assessment strategies for indigenous languages, led by David Sul. He writes:
I will be focusing my presentation entitled “Indigenous Language Assessment Development” toward those of you who are looking for practical assessment development advice. I will include some important definitions as well as a nuts and bolts description of the instrument development process undertaken to construct the Dibishgaademgak Anishinaabemowin (Measuring Anishinaabemowin) assessment that is the focus of my dissertation. At the conclusion of the presentation, I hope to draw contrasts between the approaches taken within the seven articles and the one undertaken by our assessment development team.
October 31: Technology and language revitalization
Join us for a presentation and discussion of the relatinship between technology and language revitalization led by Edwin Ko. Edwin has shared an annotated bibliography of twelve selected articles involving digital technology within language revitalization which can be downloaded so that you may read articles you find relevant. Last month, Edwin was invited to participate at a two-day meeting at Carleton University where the topic was "Digital Tools for Endangered Languages: Listening, Learning and Looking Ahead." He will share some of the highly stimulating discussions from the meeting. Open discussions are highly encouraged.
November 14: Visit by Margaret Noodin at 4:00pm; discussion of Noodin's articles from 1-2
In anticipation of Margaret Noodin's talk at 4pm today, we'll be reading and discussing two of her papers: Waasechibiiwaabikoonsing Nd'anami'aami, "Praying through a Wired Window": Using Technology to Teach Anishinaabemowin (2011; in Studies in American Indian Literatures 23(2):3-24; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5250/studamerindilite.23.2.0003) and chapter 8 from Bringing Our Languages Home (2001) "Anishinaabemowin: Language, Family, and Community". Come ready to discuss, ask questions, and get excited about Noodin's talk!
December 5: Project update