Language Revitalization

Bleaman receives NSF CAREER Award

August 16, 2022

Congratulations to Isaac Bleaman, who has received a 5-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation! His project is entitled "Documenting and Analyzing Sociolinguistic Variation in the Speech of Holocaust Survivors," and it will involve developing a large corpus of conversational Yiddish for language research and community engagement. The project was described in a recent announcement to LSA members and publicized in the Forward (first in Yiddish and then in English translation).

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...

DE-ILR mini grant recipients

December 16, 2021

The Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization has awarded $250 mini grants for language revitalization materials to three outstanding projects. The awards will go to: Nate Gong, Education, for textiles and art supplies by Pacific Islander youth involved in language and cultural revitalization through the Oakland-based organization, IKUNA; Pa Vue, Education, for a two-year subscription to Canva for the development of multimodal materials in Hmong to be disseminated through Instagram; and Katherine Russell, Linguistics, for 20 sets of 50 picture cards and 15 20-page picture story books in Guébie, a spoken language of Côte d'Ivoire that currently does not have a standard orthography.

The mini-grants are awarded twice a year to support the cost of producing language revitalization materials. The next cycle will be in the spring.

New DE-ILR cohort

December 16, 2021

The Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization is delighted to announce its new cohort, representing five departments and multiple languages. The DE has now grown to a community of 13 graduate student scholars and three recent graduates from nine departments, and is supported by core faculty Line Mikkelsen, Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Chris Beier, Leanne Hinton, Andrew Garrett, Lev Michael, and Beth Piatote. Belén Flores provides critical staff support.

The new cohort includes Lisett Bastidas, History, who extends her previous work with Breath of Life to support California Indigenous languages; Jesus Nazario, Ethnic Studies, who focuses on his heritage language of Nahuatl, which will support his dissertation work on two Nahua communities in Mexico and Texas; Tzintia Montaño-Ramirez, Linguistics, who is working in her Mixtec heritage language of Dà’àn Davi of Mexico; Pa Vue, Education, whose work centers on her heritage language of Hmong and Hmong communities in the United States; and Alan Waxman, Landscape Architecture, whose work in land stewardship is shaped by his study of Ichishkiin/Yakama of the Pacific Northwest.


Andrew Garrett, Susan Gehr, Erik Hans Maier, Line Mikkelsen Crystal Richardson, and Clare Sandy

Diccionario Escolar Ikíitu Kuwasíini – Tawɨ Kuwasíini (Iquito – Castellano)

Christine Beier
Lev Michael
Jaime Pacaya Inuma
Ema Llona Yareja
Hermenegildo Díaz Cuyasa
Ligia Inuma Inuma

Iquito-Spanish dictionary intended for use by Iquito community members

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