Endangered Language Alliance

Culture and Language

Languages are central nodes of culture — many people feel that the loss of a language is tantamount to the loss of an entire culture. A language encodes a worldview, a range of unspoken norms and assumptions, and a wealth of historical and environmental knowledge.

Our Circassian collaborator, Jonty Yamisha, has stated the current dilemma aptly: If an old and precious artifact was found lying in the street, few people would pass it by without notice. Sculptures, paintings, inscriptions and other physical artifacts have demanded an extraordinary level of attention throughout the world. But just the opposite is true for the world’s intangible heritage, which we are losing before our very eyes.

Some of the cultural events we’ve hosted, sponsored, or played a major role in:

  • This Is Who I Am, a short film about a young Ojibwe woman reconnecting to her language and culture in the big city.
  • Collaborative events between the Breton- and Garifuna-speaking communities in New York in March 2013 and May 2015.