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.
- The UK premiere of the acclaimed new film The Linguists shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival – the film will be introduced and discussed by K. David Harrison, one of the featured linguists
- Meet an Endangered Language where visitors will come face-to-face with an endangered language, learn about where it is spoken and why it is threatened, experience its culture, and pick up some basic words and phrases
- Open Day when we open the doors of the Endangered Languages Archive and people can meet researchers, see displays of staff and student work, and experience the latest technologies used to record, archive and support endangered languages
- A debate on how to encourage personal action in support of language diversity: What is Your Language Footprint?
- A full day workshop on Engagement and Activism in Endangered Languages Research
- A specialist workshop on Geographical Information Systems for Linguists
- A day of international films on endangered languages with work from Australia, Denmark, Taiwan and UK
- Seminars on moral and ethical issues in language fieldwork
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.