Endangered Languages Week 2008

Following on from our successful experiment in April 2007 the Endangered Languages Project at SOAS is running an even bigger and better Endangered Languages Week from 30th April to 8th May 2008.
Through films, displays, discussions and workshops we are presenting what is being done to document, archive and support endangered languages at SOAS and around the world. The theme of the week is “What can WE do?”, exploring how researchers, students, language community members and members of the public can work together to address the challenges of global language and cultural loss.
Activities include:

Speakers participating during the week will include SOAS staff and Lise Dobrin (USA), Maurizio Gnerre (Italy), David Harrison (USA), Cecelia Ode (Netherlands), Nicholas Ostler (UK), Peter Sutton (Australia) and Ljuba Veselinova (Sweden).
There is a full programme of events on our website and a podcast about the week and endangered languages in general on OpenAir Radio which is run by SOAS students. Cathy Edwards, who did the interview and was involved in editing and producing the podcast, is currently doing her MA in Language Documentation and Description at SOAS. Cathy also produced a podcast on Menter Abertawe – Welsh Language Initiatives in Swansea which was part of the assessable coursework she submitted for the MA half-unit Applied Language Documentation and Description, specifically for the component on “Communicating about our work”.
OpenAir Radio plans to produce podcasts of the Meet an Endangered Language sessions that will be a feature of Endangered Languages Week 2008, so do visit their website over the next two weeks to hear about Guernesias, Huave, Yukaghir, Talyshi and Jalonke. Even if you can’t join us for the events in London you will be able to get a flavour of what will be going on via the podcasts.

3 thoughts on “Endangered Languages Week 2008”

  1. The solution is through Ardano language.
    Yes we can gather ourselves to help endangered languages.
    And I can explain.
    The number of dying languages in the coming two centuries scares me a lot. It’s like losing the icebergs in the poles because of global warming Nobody wants to watch losing our nature or its diversity.
    The same thing we can see in Ardano. Any Ardanist will be very close to all the languages in the world as one group ,because Ardano contains words from all languages. Losing even hundreds from thousands is very scary to anyone who loves languages.
    Ardano wants a stable number of living languages , we hope that all the 6912 living languages are protected . This number was the choice of Ardano from the beginning.
    Ardano is the language that uses documented words from all languages , therefor even after the language extinction Ardano speakers will still speak those words , At least ,with Ardano the momory of endangered languages will never die.
    We don’t need just to document endangered languages ,but also to keep their communities within the circle of their language. We should give them an easy international language to communicate with the foreign world ,while this communicating language and its community keep both eyes on the status of that small language .
    Ardano is like a simple indicator for what is happening to the world’s languages. The only thing that I could do as a person is to keep the memory of those languages at least in the dictionary or the wonderful Ardano poems and eventually in the hearts of Ardanists. We want to do more in protecting endangered languages ,but unfortunately we don’t have a big community like some very old conlangs.
    What is interesting in Ardano community is that it is the nearest conlang community to the problem of endangered languages. In addition the person who chose Ardano is a person who have no objection about the presence of small languages in the world language, Therefore he or she is more likely to protect those languages. . This could make any Ardano community more active and effective linguistically than any other conlang community
    Ardano will put the problem of losing the natural languages under the spotlight . Increasing the support for Ardano will increase the interested people in protecting the weak languages.
    Of course a helpful conlang community which is in constant touch with all languages in the world is by far much better for the cultural and the linguistic world.
    Ardano is not just the participation of words from small languages.
    Not just the regularity and easiness of Ardano are important ,although they can help enriching the small languages through the easiness of translations from the world language. But it will be an encouragement for that endangered language community knowing that some words in the world language came from their language. They will feel the global importance of their language. Anyone would be happy after knowing that the whole world is using even few words from his\her language.
    Ardano is a meeting place for co-operative people who love languages and who took the first step towards protecting small languages ,by supporting a worldlang that recognize the presence and the rights of all languages . This gathering of people will make them even stronger and more effective in the participation of endangered languages protection. Ardano has words from all languages ,and any language facing the danger of extinction will turn on the alarm in the Ardano community .
    Using a world language with words from all around the world will give a chance for many people to build personal contacts with those natural languages. Personally before Ardano I was hearing about the problem of endangered languages and I wished to help ,but I was not motivated like I am now. Because now I speak words from those languages. The problem of endangered languages touched me more deeper. The words are beautiful just like my mother tongue. Many people would love more languages if they used words from them in everyday life. Many people if they loved other languages would help protecting them. We need to create a conlang community that not just loves the conlang and ignores the others, but we need a community that really loves all natural languages in the world. At least this will be the right beginning.
    Those big conlangs community officials find themselves talking with emptiness about the linguistic diversity. They say we protect diversity . If there is diversity in their languages then where is my language. I can’t find a word from my language and thousands of other languages. Simply they ignored them. There is no need to claim that the auxlang can help linguistic diversity since it lacks the real diversity in the first place.
    Also, Ardano will give speakers of any bigger language the needed contentedness and relief after knowing that their language is respected and has its role in the global communications . Their language has its portion in Ardano ,and this is like sending a simple message that says they can live peacefully together with different people of the world just like the harmony between different words from different language origins in Ardano . They will feel that the world is based on a relation between equals. I can insure that any feeling about discrimination at least linguistically will simply vanish after the use of Ardano
    To succeed in convincing the world , the whole world , to use what this movement talked about for more than a century then we need to use something closer to the people , I mean all people. Every person should be happy with the world language ,because he\she is a part of this world . It’s our world .
    In the world cup of any game . All nations play in the qualifiers. Even the most powerful nation in soccer , Brazil , still plays in the qualifications along with very small nations ,because it’s the world cup ,not the cup of powerful nations.
    The UN contains USA and also that very tiny nation. Yes USA has more power in the UN ,and also the powerful languages have an advantage in Ardano ,but without forgetting every single language. That is what we should fight for.
    I was lucky because I have found this giant library in front of me, the Internet, I was able to create Ardano ,which was in the past an impossible dream . Now we are in the era of globalization ,and we need to take steps to improve with it. We need to change this movement toward the final direction directly towards the goal of so many generations of auxlangers.
    Ardano besides helping endangered languages , has another big task which is to introduce the fairest and the most neutral a posteriori system in every era ,and this is for better facilitated communications which will help the world in many things including economy ,culture ,and of course protecting the remaining languages.
    I haven’t talked about Neutrality . I mean the real neutrality. And I haven’t talked about the principle of the fair language. Or the students on equal footing in a posteriori system . You cannot put all students in an equal footing in a posteriori system ,but Ardano did. So the group of auxlangers who fought for the a priori systems ,now they can join back the a posteriori auxlangers.
    I really need your help to try, Just to try to change the world , but it will not be any change ,because all what the IAL movement talked about in a century, we will add more new things. If you have joined this movement because of the so many advantages of auxlangs , Now with Ardano you need to put more advantages. First of all Ardano changed me ,because of foreigners reactions when I talk about Ardano in front of them. I say look to that world language that doesn’t contain your language ,and look to your language Ardano ,and immediately you see the smile ,and not any smile. This happiness is the thing behind Ardano.
    It is not just an easy communicating language ,but also it could be the greatest symbol of social justice in everyday life ,if succeeded. And it cannot succeed without your help.
    The languages of indigenous people along with all European languages . And also all the African and Asian languages. All languages are side by side ,because Ardano is based on two sentences
    The first (“All languages deserve to be the world language(”
    And the second (“All languages deserve to be learned and spoken(”
    You cannot achieve these two great principles without thinking about Ardano.
    This is the last equity and equality movement. Do you want to participate?
    Zeinelabidin Elhassi
    links to Ardano
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ardano/
    http://ardano.tripod.com
    http://ardano.tripod.com/english/id11.html
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ardano/links
    http://nova-esperanto.blogspot.com/
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ardano/messages

  2. Concerning the campaign to save endangered and dying languages, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO’s campaign for the protection of endangered languages.
    The commitment to the campaign was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations’ Geneva HQ in September.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7vD9kChBA&feature=related
    An interesting video can also be seen at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.
    The argument for Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

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