Language Revitalization

Language Revitalization Working Group

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 and the Townsend Center...

Graduate Field Methods Course History

This page summarizes the history of graduate instruction in linguistic field methods at Berkeley, with information about academic year, language(s), consultant(s), and instructor(s), when known. The information has been reconstructed from archival course catalogs, which occasionally do not reflect the ultimate instructor of record, and in consultation with Linguistics faculty, graduate students, alumni, and records in the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. We will continue to update it as we learn more.

The course in its present guise began in the 1948-1949 academic...

FForum 2020-2021

Fall 2020 Schedule 2020.09.02 Welcome back!

Join us via Zoom for the first FForum meeting of the semester, where we will catch up on summer developments. All are welcome!

2020.09.09 Christine Beier and Lev Michael (UC Berkeley)

Mobile tonal melodies in Iquito: analysis, elicitation, and texts

This talk focuses on the analysis of mobile tonal melodies in Iquito and methodological issues that we faced in developing this analysis. Iquito mobile melodies are tonal melodies whose position is affected by the presence of...

Reyes blogs about language revitalization

March 30, 2021

Ever Reyes, member of the DE in Indigenous Language Revitalization and graduate student in the Department of Music, published a blog post on language revitalization for the Center for Latin American Studies.

Nee speaks at Found in Translation working group

February 5, 2021

Julia Nee will be giving a talk at the Berkeley Language Center's Found in Translation (FIT) working group on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 2 to 3pm:

Using Long-Format Speech Environment Recordings to Understand the Full Range of Zapotec Learners' Language Abilities

Zoom link (Meeting ID: 961 6335 9441, Passcode: 555992)

In addition to requiring exposure to the language, one common barrier to language revitalization is the presence of an “ideology of contempt” towards a language (Dorian, 1998), and language revitalization projects will not be successful in the long run if negative language attitudes are not addressed (Dauenhauer & Dauenhauer, 1998). In Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico, ~35 children participate in Zapotec language revitalization camps for children 6-12 promoting positive Zapotec language ideologies and encouraging Zapotec use at home. This study addresses the gap in our understanding of naturalistic language use and development of language attitudes in such an endangered language context by addressing three key questions: (1) What do long-format speech environment (LFSE) recordings suggest about children's language use and attitudes in Teotitlán?; (2) How do patterns in LFSE data compare to other measures of language use?; and (3) What methodological challenges are presented in collecting LFSE data from children ages 6-12? I show that LFSE recordings provide evidence that Zapotec learners’ exposure to and abilities in Zapotec are greater than suggested by other measures, including reported language use and observations of classroom language use. Furthermore, participants’ recordings suggest that learners have acquired significant abilities in Zapotec, and that providing supportive contexts for language use can increase learner investment and result in greater Zapotec use (cf. Riestenberg & Sherris, 2018).

New DE-ILR cohort and welcome event

January 28, 2021

Beth Piatote writes to announce a new DE cohort in Indigenous Language Revitalization and a welcome event on February 19. Congrats, all!

We are delighted to welcome a new cohort of outstanding graduate students into the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization. We are especially excited about the diversity of fields represented and the dynamic growth of the DE. We welcome Emily Drummond, Linguistics, working with Nukuoro, a Polynesian-Outlier language spoken in Micronesia; Cristina Mendez, Education, working with Mam-speaking diasporic Guatemalan communities in Oakland; Everardo Reyes, Music, interested in creating music- and arts-based materials for language revitalization, with background in Raramuri and Nahuatl; Tessa Scott, Linguistics, teaching Mam as a second language in Oakland; Gabriel Trujillo, Integrative Biology, focusing on STEM-related Indigenous knowledge, particularly related to plants and environment; Oliver Whitmore, Romance Languages—French, working with Occitan, an endangered minority language of regions in France, Spain, and Italy. This group joins Julia Nee, Linguistics; Edwin Ko, Linguistics; Esther Ramer, Classics; Nate Gong, Education; Ataya Cesspooch, Environmental Studies, Policy, and Management.

We invite all to join us in a celebratory gathering to share more about our Language Revitalization goals and joys at 4 p.m. on February 19. Come and be inspired! For a link to the party contact Line Mikkelsen.

Many thanks to Belén Flores for her valuable administrative support of the DE.

Stay tuned for future DE events this spring, co-sponsored with the Language Revitalization Working Group.

— Beth Piatote on behalf of the DE Core Faculty: Line Mikkelsen, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Christine Beier, Lev Michael, Andrew Garrett, Leanne Hinton

Mikkelsen and colleagues publish in Language

December 17, 2020

Congrats to Line Mikkelsen, whose paper Forms and functions of backward resumption: The case of Karuk, co-authored with Karuk tribal members Charron (Sonny) Davis, Vina Smith, Nancy Super (née Jerry), Peter Super Sr., and Charlie Thom Sr., has just appeared in Language! As the paper notes in its opening paragraph:

The research on Karuk reported here is the outcome of a collaboration between Karuk master speakers and Elders Sonny Davis, Julian Lang, the late Vina Smith, Nancy Super (née Jerry), the late Peter Super, Sr., and the late Charlie Thom, Sr.; Karuk language learners, researchers, and teachers Tamara Alexander, Robert Manuel, Crystal Richardson, Susan Gehr, Arch Super, Florrine Super, and Franklin (Frankie) Thom; and UC Berkeley linguists Andrew Garrett, Erik Maier, Line Mikkelsen, Karie Moorman, Ruth Rouvier, and Clare Sandy in Yreka, California, starting in 2010 and continuing through 2020. The work includes language documentation, linguistic analysis, language learning, development of language curriculum, educational support, language teaching, working through texts, (re)transcribing legacy recordings, linguistic elicitation with verbal and visual stimuli, and the development of ararahih-'urípih (= Karuk language net;, an online dictionary and morphologically parsed text corpus.

Bleaman at AJS and UCL

December 10, 2020
Isaac Bleaman will be giving a talk at the Association for Jewish Studies on the topic "Attitudes toward change in a maintained language: Yiddish in New York" (Dec. 16 at 9:30am) and serving as a respondent on another panel on minority languages in Israel. He will be giving a longer version of the talk (in Yiddish) at University College London on Jan. 12 at 10am, an event in the Ada Rapoport-Albert Seminar Series on Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish.

Rouvier receives NFMLTA/NCOLCTL dissertation grant

August 27, 2020

Ruth Rouvier has just received a NFMLTA/NCOLCTL Dissertation Research Support Grant (the abbreviations stand for the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages). Congratulations, Ruth! Information about the grant program is available here.

40th Annual Siouan & Caddoan Languages Conference

May 4, 2020

Edwin Ko writes to announce that he is organizing the 40th Siouan and Caddoan Languages Conference, which will be held virtually from Thursday, May 21 to Saturday, May 23. The conference program can be found on the website and anyone who is interested in attending should write to Edwin to obtain more information.