Endangered Language Alliance


Who

Staff

Founder & Executive Director 

Kaufman

Daniel Kaufman is a linguist who has focused on the languages of the Austronesian family for the last decade and a half. In 2008, he founded the Urban Fieldstation for Linguistic Research, with the purpose of initiating long-term language projects in cooperation with immigrant communities in NYC and local linguistics students. In 2010, this became formalized as ELA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and has continued to grow since. In 2015, he became Assistant Professor at Queens College, where he is heading the new Language Documentation Lab.

Assistant Director 

Ross Perlin is a writer and linguist based in Brooklyn. His linguistic work has focused onPerlin Headshot (B&W)the documentation and description of endangered languages in southwest China, where his work has been supported by the Himalayan Languages Project and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, and on Jewish languages in New York. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Guardian (UK), and The Washington Post, among other places, and his first book was Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. Ross is a graduate of Stanford, Cambridge, and the Language Documentation program at the University of London (SOAS).

Board of Directors

Juliette Blevins is a Professor in the Linguistics Program at CUNY Graduate Center, heading the Endangered Language Initiative. She was previously a Senior Scientist in the Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, for five years, following professorships at UT Austin, the University of Western Australia, and UC Berkeley. Her contributions to linguistics include over one hundred publications, and span a range of sub-disciplines, from novel syntheses of phonetics, phonology, typology, and sound change, to historical reconstruction and endangered language documentation and revitalization. Areal interests include Australian Aboriginal languages, American Indian languages, Austronesian languages, and the languages of the Andaman Islands.  (Personal webpage)

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Habib Borjian has carried out fieldwork and published on various languages of the Iranian family, especially those in danger of extinction. He collaborates with Endangered Language Alliance to document rare languages spoken by immigrant communities in New York City. He is Senior Assistant Editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica, to which he is a regular contributor, and Associate Editor of Journal Persianate Studies. Borjian is a regional director for the Middle East at Endangered Languages Catalogue, a joint project of the Eastern Michigan University and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Paul Collins is an attorney whose practice includes estate and trust planning and administration, both domestic and international; fiduciary litigation, such as contested probate and accounting matters, guardianships, and proceedings for the construction of wills and trusts; asset protection strategies; charitable giving techniques, including the creation and administration of foundations and split-interest trusts; and the preparation of pre- and post-nuptial agreements. A member of the New York City and State bar associations, Paul also has a long-standing passion for languages and would have most likely been a linguist had he not entered law.

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Charles Häberl is an Associate Professor at the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures at Rutgers. Born and raised in the State of New Jersey, he received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. He served as the Director of Rutgers’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies from 2009-2012 and is currently serving as Near East Regional Director for the Endangered Languages Catalogue. Together with James McGrath of Butler University, he received two NEH grants to create a critical edition and translation of the Mandaean Book of John. His primary academic focus is on the languages of the Middle East, both ancient and modern, and ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities from the region. He has conducted field work with speakers of several different Semitic and Iranian languages, resulting in a monograph on the Neo-Mandaic dialect of Khorramshahr.

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Bob Holman, founder and proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, is a poet most often connected with spoken word, performance, hiphop and slam. He has published nine books of poetry and released two CDs. He teaches at NYU and Columbia, including “Poets Census,” where students locate poets from non-English speaking communities, and “Translating Endangered Languages.” He is currently working on two Endangered Language Projects: the Endangered Cento, under the auspices of CityLore, a 100-line poem with each line from a different endangered tongue; and “On the Road with Bob Holman,” a series of half-hour documentaries for LinkTV with Holman as host. He hosted the PBS film “Language Matters,” which premiered in January 2015. Personal webpage: http://www.bobholman.com.

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Nyasha Laing is a human rights consultant and writer/producer who has worked with a host of organizations on research, advocacy and communications campaigns and is passionate about issues of race and culture. Her first documentary film, Punta Soul was showcased in the WOMEX IMZ Showcase (Seville), the Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles), and the Pan Caribbean festival (Washington). Nyasha holds a degree in History from Yale University and a JD from NYU School of Law.

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Partners

Endangered Language Initiative – The City University of New York, Graduate Center.

Endangered Languages Project – ELA is happy to announce our participation in a freshly launched initiative focused on endangered languages and backed by the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity. The site will offer information on and recordings and other primary data in endangered languages, as well as ideas on how to help maintain these languages.

It will also allow experts and lay-people a larger forum for discussions of best practices and issues relevant to language endangerment and maintenance. Most importantly, perhaps, it will encourage speakers of endangered languages all over the world to upload material in their language, a true crowd-sourcing solution to
help preserve these languages.

ELA has contributed pieces from several of our projects to the site so that this material can reach a wider audience and inspire others to undertake similar work in their areas. We aim to continue contributing material as the initiative develops further so keep an eye out for new updates!

Intercultural Productions – Together with Intercultural Productions, we are shotting short films that focus on the communities and individuals ELA collaborates with in New York CIty. Currently, we are seeking support for a web-series entitled Meso-American New York that takes a look at one of New York’s most ignored and underserved populations, indigenous Mexicans who come to the city still speaking their native Meso-American languages. 

Grubin ProductionsLanguage Matters examines three stories of language endangerment and revitalization, made for PBS with support from the National Endowment of Humanities and the National Endowment of the Arts as well as several generous sponsors.

International Centre for Language Revitalization – ELA is proud to be associated with the ICLR, whose vision is to develop research and expertise in endangered and indigenous language revitalisation with strong collaboration between researchers, academics and language communities. The ICLR is based at the Auckland University of Technology and is led by some of the leading figures in the Māori revitalization movement. 

Raphael Finkel (University of Kentucky, Dept. of Computer Science) – Together with Raphael Finkel we are creating electronic tools to view and search multimedia corpora. 

Zvjezdana Vrzic (NYU, Dept. of Linguistics)

Yurumein Garifuna Cultural Retrieval (Yugacure) – An organization dedicated to revitalizing the Garifuna language and culture in its place of origin: St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Eastern Caribbean. ELA is proud to sponsor this initiative led by James Lovell and Trish St. Hill. Yugacure consists of a summer program that teaches the Garifuna language to the youth of St. Vincent through music and dance. It is in its third year and we are currently seeking support from contributors to keep it alive in 2013. 

Mano a Mano, Mexican Culture Without Borders – ELA has been collaborating with Mano a Mano for several years to bring Nahuatl classes to New York as well as to introduce New Yorkers to the languages and other cultural riches of indigenous Mexico. 

BZH, Association of Bretons in New York

Nassip Foundation

Damanga Coalition, Coalition for Freedom and Democracy

ELA Toronto

Led by linguist Anastasia Riehl, ELA Toronto (ELAT) was formed in 2012 and is a sister organization to ELA in New York, with a similar mission to document endangered languages, support community-led efforts and education initiatives, and celebrate the linguistic diversity of the city of Toronto. Toronto is the most linguistically diverse city in Canada — as in New York, over 40% of the population was born in another country. According to the 2011 census, approximately 45% of Toronto residents speak a mother tongue other than English or French.

ELAT’s work has been covered widely in the media, including recently by The Toronto Star and there are currently several documentation projects underway, including work on Agrigentino Sicilian, Sri Lanka Malay, Urhobo, Harari, Santonofrese, South Efate and Nakanamanga, Ge’ez, and several languages of Italy. They had the opportunity to work with Grizelda Kristin, thought to be the last fully fluent speaker of Livonian, who died near Toronto at the age of 103 in 2013. ELAT’s YouTube channel has fantastic video recordings of many of the langauges they work on. ELAT is always looking for information on less common languages spoken in the Toronto area.

ELA Toronto

Below is a video introducing ELAT’s work and a video of Enas Adose, a Harari speaker who lives in Toronto, sharing her thoughts on the present and future of the language (subtitled in Harari and English).

Harari, a Semitic language of Eastern Ethiopia, has approximately 25,000 speakers of Harari total, according to a 2007 census, there may be as many as 7,000 just in the Toronto area, one of the largest communities in the world. As Enas explains, the language may still be spoken regularly in the community, particularly among first-generation immigrants, but there are concerns going forward.

 

Volunteers

Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein (Garifuna, development & strategy)
Natalia Bermudez (Naso, Garifuna)
Lluvia Camacho-Cervantes (Amuzgo, Purhepecha)
Alejandro Canizales (Amuzgo)
Adam Cooper (Amuzgo)
Bien Dobui (Amuzgo, bookkeeping)
Fernando Epifacio
Greg Feliu (Nones, Romansh)
Rosanne Gangi-Gartner
Vanessa Greenberg (Cinco de Mayo team)
Kalvin Hartwig (Ojibwe)
Kevin Hughes (Garifuna)
Safiya Husain (Archiving, Mandaic)
Patrick A. Mather (Harlem research group)
Timothy Matthes (Zaghawa/Beria, Masalit)
Ignacio Montoya (Amuzgo, Ikota, Cinco de Mayo team)
Edmund O’Neill (IT)
Alan Pagliere
Kristin Pak (Roosevelt Avenue research group)
Nina Porzucki (Coney Island research group)
John Ratcliffe (Zaghawa/Beria)
Jovan Stojanovich (Harlem research group)
Robin Stringer (Harlem research group)
Guy Tabachnik (Shughni)
Nancy Taylor (Harlem research group)
David Thepaut (Harlem research group)
Jasmine Torres (website)
Mark Ulrich (Queens research group)
Violeta Vázquez-Maldonado (Nahuatl, Amuzgo)
Nicole Velasco
Charles von Rosenberg (Cinco de Mayo team)
Ana Villarreal Anzaldo (Cinco de Mayo team)
Emily Wilson (Coney Island research group)
Perry Wong

Speakers

Amuzgo: Jesus Santana
Appalachian English: Timothy McFarland and father
Bartangi: Gulchehra Sheralshoeva
Beria: Noureddine Elouazizi, Mahmat Nourin, Ahmat Suleiman Nur
Bishnupriya Manipuri: Uttam Singha
Breton: Fabienne Geffroy, Marie-Reine Jezequel, Erwan Le Bihan, Rozenn Milin
Bribri: Robert Elisondo, Emiliano
Bukhori: Aron Aronov, Rabbi Baruch Babaev, Iosif Shalamayev, Albert Yakobov
BurushaskiNaseema Bano, Karim Piar
Bzedukh: Maja Hilmi
Chamorro: Geraldine Lisua
Dungan: Bibi, Aziza, Nina Porzucki
GarifunaAlex Kwabena ColónLoreida Guity, Milton Guity, James Lovell, and others
Gurung: Narayan Gurung, Tulsi Gurung, Gori Gurung
Judeo-Kashani: Yaqub Tabari
Juhuri: Yakov Abramov, Rashbil Shamayev
Kabardian: Zhanna Shazzo
K’iche: Leobardo Ajtzalam
LivonianKristin Kundz
Mamuju: Husni Husain
Masalit: Daowd Saleh
Mixe: Fernando Epifacio
Mixtec: Marcelino Bautista, Romualdo Bautista, Tobías Bautista, Margarito Martinez
NahuatlManuel Cabrera González, Victorino Hernández Rámos, Perfecta Villegas Román, Irwin Sanchez
Neo-Aramaic: Ghaith Hadaya
NonesElaine Martini Donlin, Giovanna Flaim
Ossetian: Konstantin Slanov
Purhepecha: Rosalba Martinez
Romansch: Amalia Malchiodi
Shughni: Arambegim (Nanish) Nazrisho
TlapanecZenaida Cantú
Totonac: José Juárez, Wenceslao Juárez Márquez
Wakhi: Nazir Abbas, Husniya Khujamyorova

Supporters

Foundations and Non-Profits
Alice Cozzi Foundation
Angelson Family Foundation
Brewer Charitable Trust
City Lore
Endangered Language Documentation Programme
Endangered Language Fund
Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Sprachen (GBS)
Reis Foundation
Robert Schiffman Foundation

Individual Donors
Jason Andrew, Shlomo Angel, Douglas Bigham, John Brewer, Eleanor Bullock, Katherine Deimling, Leslie DiRusso, Giles Edkins, Christopher Gassett, Kathy Goodman, Kevin Jacobson, Eytan Kaufman, Sam Kramer, Stephanie L. Krobot and Charles Krobot III, Shira Kronzon, Karan Mahajan, Iris Mansour, Gregory Pleak, David Price, Ahmed Qadeer, Diane Reppert, Anastasia Riehl, John R. Sanderson, Christoph Schreiber, Michele Sigler, Beulah Stanley, Rita Vehlies

Corporations
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