Indigenous languages

Job – Program Director, Documenting Endangered Languages Program; National Science Foundation; Due Jan 23, 2015

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as a Program Director in the Documenting Endangered Languages Program, in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), within the Directorate for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arlington, VA.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency’s overall mission to support innovative and merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that contribute to the nation’s technical strength, security, and welfare. Fulfilling this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

The Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture as well as the interactions between human and natural systems. BCS programs consider proposals that fall squarely within disciplines, but they also encourage and support interdisciplinary projects. These are evaluated either through joint review among programs in BCS, joint review with programs in other Divisions, or by NSF-wide multi-disciplinary panels. All programs in BCS consider proposals for research projects, conferences, and workshops.

Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) is an activity conducted in coordination with the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop and advance scientific and scholarly knowledge concerning endangered human languages. Made urgent by the imminent death of roughly half of the approximately 7000 currently used human languages, DEL seeks not only to acquire scientific data that will soon be unobtainable, but also to integrate, systemize, and make the resulting linguistic findings widely available by exploiting advances in information technology. The program focuses on language description, infrastructure, and computational methods.



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  • Articulate a vision for the future of the discipline and allocate program resources to maintain a balance of support to meet the field’s needs and future development;
  • Maintain an effective merit review system and post-award action process;
  • Participate in one or more cross-cutting activities within the Foundation;
  • Work cooperatively across the Division, Directorate, and Foundation, and with other agencies to accomplish the mission of NSF;
  • Participate in interagency meetings, coordinating groups, special task groups, staff meetings, and site visits;
  • Assess trends and opportunities in the field with assistance of advisory panels;
  • Pursue affirmative action and EEO goals in selection of reviewers, panelists, and grantees;
  • Represent the program to the scientific community and the public;
  • Establish contacts and maintain active involvement in the program field through participation in meetings and conferences and by undertaking other relevant activities;
  • Pursue a personal scholarly research agenda, with results presented at professional meetings and published in academic journals, as workload permits


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Candidates must have a Ph.D. in an appropriate field directly related to linguistics, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position. In addition to above qualification, experience in computational methods, cyberinfrastructure and/or cyber-capabilities is highly desired.

In addition to above qualification, the ability to organize, implement and manage a proposal-driven grant program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of goals, including insuring transparency and accountability in the grant award/declination management process is highly desired. Candidates should be able to communicate effectively and work productively with the scientific community, peers, and co-workers at all levels to advocate program policies and plans and to fulfill NSF’s mission.
You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the closing date of the job announcement.

All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.


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Your application must be submitted online and all document faxing/uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.

You must answer all of the job-related questions to ensure full consideration for this position. For more detailed information, please review our NSF eRecruit Frequently Asked Questions.

WARNING! Applications submitted online must have a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

If you are unable to apply electronically, please use the Contact Information below for special instructions on how to submit your application materials. Hearing impaired individuals may call TDD (703) 292-5090 for assistance.


Workshop in Indigenous Language & Public Art, Nov 21, 2014

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WILPA poster graphic

November 14, 2014 – You are invited to join artist Tania Willard in a discussion of her recent project Rule of the Trees a public art project for Translink. Participants will be invited to share in conversation/ideas and translations of words for land in indigenous and other languages of origin. The project conceptually links our contemporary migrations throughout the city with a memorial to the intricate root systems of old growth forests that would have stood in the city before the onset of colonization and industrialization. This project attempts to reconstruct a diverse set of knowledges in which natural systems are affected by us-how the land remembers us. Contributions in the form of text in ‘languages of origin’ will become part of the final artwork, scheduled for 2016 at Commercial Broadway new sky train platform.

Friday, November 21
2 PM, First Nations Longhouse
Catered Event

Download the poster for more information, including Tania Willard’s bio.

Poster: Workshop on Indigenous Languages & Public Art (PDF)

How an El Sereno charter school fought for (and won) the right to teach in an indigenous language

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How an El Sereno charter school fought for (and won) the right to teach in an indigenous language

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Semillas Academy - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kindergartener Zoe, right, plays the drums during recess at Academia Semillas del Pueblo on Dec. 5, 2012. The LAUSD charter school incorporates language and cultural learning and is part of Semillas Community Schools, which also includes the Anahuacalmecac International Preparatory High School.

On a main thoroughfare in East Los Angeles, there’s a brightly painted public school: Anahuacalmecac International Preparatory High School, part of the Semillas school network. Semillas — Spanish for “seeds” — teaches teenagers about their indigenous roots and culture.

Students there learn in Spanish and Nahuatl, incorporating Mayan mathematics and indigenous visual and performing arts. One course teaches indigenous diplomacy and youth leadership skills. Parents and grandparents are integrated into the student’s learning. Read more.

Original Link:

How An Octogenarian Preserved An Endangered Native American Language

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by Jordan Kushins

It’s easy to take translations for granted when Google can swap between Albanian and Zulu with the click of a button, but even that tech has real world limitations. Marie Wilcox is the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, one of 130 different endangered Native American languages in the United States that don’t have any kind of digital—or analog—legacy.

Over the course of seven years in California’s San Joaquin Valley, she worked with her daughter and grandson to catalog everything she knows about the language. First, she hand-scrawled memories on scraps of paper; then, she hunt-and-pecked on an old keyboard to complete a dictionary and type out legends like “How We Got Our Hands.” Next, she recorded the whole thing on audio for pronunciation—it’s very specific!—and posterity.


International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC)

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The 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC), “Enriching Theory, Practice, & Application,” will be held February 26-March 1, 2015, at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu. The 4th ICLDC is hosted by the Department of Linguistics and the National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The conference program will feature two keynote talks, an integrated series of Master Class workshops and four Special Sessions on Pedagogy in Language Conservation. An optional Hilo Field Study (on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi) to visit Hawaiian language revitalization programs in action will immediately follow the conference (March 2-3).
for more information, Click here

Great Indigenous languages resource

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księżycowy has compiled a long list of Native language learning/teaching resources on the website UniLang Community website.


click here



First Voices: Language Archives Celebrating World Indigenous Cultures

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New App enables Indigenous language speakers to text in their languages

Brentwood Bay, B.C. – FirstVoices Chat, an Indigenous language texting app for Facebook Chat
and Google Talk, is now available at the Apple App Store as a free download for iPad, iTouch
and iPhone. The app contains custom keyboards for hundreds of Indigenous languages in
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The app can be downloaded from:

“We’re excited to launch this new piece of technology, which allows First Nations people to
return to the everyday use of their heritage languages using their mobile devices,” said Peter
Brand, FirstVoices Manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “The primary audience for
the new app is First Nations youth, but we expect the positive effects of these innovative literacy
tools to ripple out to speakers and learners of all ages.”

FirstVoices Chat was developed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council with funding from the
First Nations Technology Council. “The First Nations Technology Council is thrilled to
participate in the development of a tool that contributes to First Nations language revitalization
by enabling their use in daily conversations,” said Norm Leech, Executive Director of the FNTC.
The development of the keyboarding technology at the core of FirstVoices Chat was funded by
the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Aboriginal Languages Initiative.

Samantha Etzel, one of eight SENĆOŦEN language apprentices at the LÁU,WELNEW Tribal
School in Brentwood Bay, B.C. says, “It is exciting when my daughter asks me to text words to
her in our language. To have the technology at our fingertips adds to ways of learning for our
community members who live off-reserve, but still have a desire to learn.”

FirstVoices Chat had a high profile introduction in Vancouver on February 24. Their Honours
Lieutenant Governor Steven Point and his wife Gwendolyn, long-time language champions of
the Sto:lo First Nation, exchanged their first text message in their Halq’eméylem language
before several hundred delegates at the First Nations Technology Council ICT Summit.

About the First Peoples’ Cultural Council
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a B.C. Crown Corporation with the mandate to support
First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages, arts and cultures. FPCC has distributed
more than $22 million to B.C. Aboriginal communities since 1990.

To learn more please visit:


First Peoples’ Cultural Council:

First Nations Technology Council: