Endangered Language Alliance



Outreach

events and education on linguistic diversity in NYC and beyond

ནིའུ་ཡོག ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད། ༡༩

न्यूयोर्कको कोभिड-१९

Nueva York COVID-19

Since March 2020, New York City has been a global epicenter of the coronavrius/COVID-19 epidemic. Nearly every New Yorker has been affected, but early evidence suggests that minority, immigrant, and Indigenous communities in the outer boroughs of Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are being hit hardest, while being heard from the least. NYC’s diverse, multilingual communities have disproportionate numbers of healthcare workers, community leaders, teachers, parents, and ordinary people on the frontlines — and they are fighting an unprecedented battle.

New York COVID-19 is a project of the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) featuring daily recordings in many different languages describing what members of some of the city’s most affected but least known communities are experiencing. Every day, our correspondents, from a range of minority and Indigenous cultures across Asia and Latin America, are recording a 10-minute audio “diary entry” about what is happening to them and their community — in their mother tongue and with an English summary for a wider audience. 

Like the daily update from New York State Governor Cuomo, these diaries reflect both the personal challenges of living under quarantine during an epidemic and the news and thoughts, fears and hopes, circulating among families, friends, and communities. New York COVID-19 is not the news, but something much more personal and real: lived experience.

Diarists: Diki Bista, Yeshi Jigme Gangne, Lhakpa Dolma Sherpa, Kesang Choden, Sangey Tashi, Dr. Konchog Tseten, Kesang Choden, Sangey Tashi, Karma Yangzen Sherpa, Dawa Lama, Urgen Lama, Tenzin, Zenaida Cantú, Saúl Quizet Rivera, Leobardo Ambrocio Ajtzalam, Ismael Alvarez.

Production Team: Nawang Tsering Gurung, Ross Perlin, Sienna Craig, Daniel Kaufman, Mark Turin, Maya Daurio, Tierney Brown.

*See individual diarist playlists for daily entries, e.g. Yeshi’s Tibetan diary.*

Supported by Dartmouth College Office of the Provost – Spark Initiative, Dartmouth Department of Anthropology – Claire Garber Goodman Fund, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Endangered Language Alliance.

ནིའུ་ཡོག ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད། ༡༩

སྐད་ཡིག་འདྲ་མིན་དུ་བྲིས་པའི་དཀའ་སྡུག་འོག་གི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་མི་མང་གི་ཉིན་ཐོ།

ཕྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༢༠ ཕྱི་ཟླ་ ༠༣ ནས་ནིའུ་ཡོག་གྲོང་ནི་འཛམ་གླིང་ཐོག་གི་ཆེས་ཛ་དྲག་ཅན་གྱི་ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད་ཀྱི་དཀའ་ཚེགས་ཅན་དུ་གྱུར་བ་དང་། གྲོང་ཁྱེར་གྱི་མི་ཕལ་མོ་ཆེར་བརྡབ་གསིག་དང་དཀའ་སྡུག་དངོས་སུ་མྱོང་དགོས་བྱུང་བ་རེད། ལྷག་པར་དུ་ཐོག་མའི་ཡུལ་དངོས་ཀྱི་གནས་ཚུལ་ལ་གཞིགས་ན། གྲོང་འཁྱེར་འདིའི་ས་ཁུལ་ལྔའི་ཁོངས་སུ་སྡོད་མཁན་གནས་སྤོས་ཀྱིས་སླེབས་པའི་གྲངས་ཉུང་མི་རིགས་ཀྱི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་སུ་དཀའ་ངལ་ཆེ་ཤོས་དེ་མྱོང་བཞིན་པ་རེད། ཡིན་ན་ཡང་། གནས་ཚུལ་དངོས་སུ་གོ་ཤེས་ཐུབ་རྒྱུ་ཉུང་ཉུང་བྱུང་བ་རེད། དོན་དངོས་ཐོག་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་འདིའི་སྐད་ཡིག་སྣ་མང་ཅན་གྱི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་དག་གི་སྨན་ཁང་ལས་བྱེད་དང་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་འགོ་ཁྲིད། དགེ་རྒན། ཕ་མ། མི་མང་དཀྱུས་མ་བཅས་ཀྱིས་ནད་འགོག་གཡུལ་ས་ནས་གདོང་ལེན་དེ་སྔོན་ལོ་རྒྱུས་སུ་མ་བྱུང་བའི་འཐབ་རྒོལ་སྲུང་སྐྱོབ་འབུར་དུ་ཐོན་པ་བྱས་ཡོད།
ནིའུ་ཡོག ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད། ༡༩ ཞེས་པ་འདི་ནི་ཛ་དྲག་སྐད་ཡིག་ལྷན་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ལས་གཞི་ཞིག་ཡིན་ཞིང་འདི་ནི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་དུ་གནས་སྡོད་ཨེ་ཤ་ཡ་དང་གདོད་མའི་ཨ་རི་བ་བཅས་ཆོས་ལུགས་དང་གོམས་སྲོལ་མི་གཅིག་པའི་གྲངས་ཉུང་མི་རིགས་ཁག་གི་མི་སྣ་ཁ་ཤས་ཀྱིས་ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད་ཀྱི་དཀའ་ངལ་དངོས་སམ་ཤུགས་ཀྱིས་ཉམས་སུ་མྱོང་བ་སོ་སོ་སྐད་ཡིག་གི་ལམ་ནས་ཉིན་ལྟར་སྒྲ་འཇུག་བྱས་པའི་ཉིན་ཐོ་ཞིག་ཡིན། ཉིན་ལྟར་སྐར་མ་བཅུ་ཅན་གྱི་ཉིན་ཐོའི་ནང་དོ་བདག་སོ་སོ་དང་གཡས་གཡོན་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་སུ་དཀའ་ངལ་ཇི་བྱུང་རྣམས་སོ་སོའི་ཕ་སྐད་ཀྱི་ནང་དུ་སྒྲ་འཇུག་བྱས་ཤིང་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ཁྱོན་ཡོངས་ལ་དམིགས་ནས་དེར་སྙིང་བསྡུས་དབྱིན་ཡིག་ཏུ་འགྲེལ་བརྗོད་བྱས་ཡོད། འདི་ནི་ནིའུ་ཡོག་མངའ་སྡེའི་བློན་ཆེན་གྱིས་ཉིན་ལྟར་གནས་གསར་ཡོངས་གྲགས་གནང་བ་དང་འདྲ་ལ་ད་དུང་དོ་བདག་དང་། ནང་མི། གྲོགས་ཕོ་མོ། སྤྱི་ཚོགས་བཅས་ཀྱི་གསར་གནས་དང་། བསམ་ཚུལ། དངངས་འཚབ། རེ་བ་སོགས་ཀྱིས་གཏམས་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན། ནིའུ་ཡོག ཏོག་དབྱིབས་རིམས་ནད། ༡༩ འདི་བཞིན་གསར་འགྱུར་ཞིག་མིན་ན་ཡང་། འདིའི་ནང་སྒེར་དང་དངོས་ཡོད་ཀྱི་གནས་ཚུལ་དུ་མ་འདུས་པས་མུན་ནག་གི་དུས་ཚོད་འདིར་གཞན་ལ་ཕན་ཐོགས་ངེས་ཅན་ལྡན་ཡོད་པས་གསན་གཟིགས་ཡོང་བ་ཞུ།

न्यूयोर्कको कोभिड-१९ बारे यो कुनै समाचार होईन । तर कठिन परिस्थितिमा मानिसहरुलाई सहयोग गर्ने बारेको केही वास्तविक कुराहरु हो यो । यो एउटा १० मिनेटको “दैनिकी” हो, जुन समुदायको भोगाई, अनुभूतिहरु ति समुदायका मानिसहरुले आफ्नै मातृभाषामा ब्यक्त गरिरहेका छन् । र यो सबै दर्शक श्रोताहरु समक्ष पुग्न सकोस् भनेर सारसंक्षेप अंग्रेजीमा तयार गरिएको छ ।

Nueva York COVID-19: diversos diarios de una ciudad bajo asedio – Voces indigenas

Desde marzo de 2020, la ciudad de Nueva York ha sido un epicentro mundial de la epidemia de coronavirus / COVID-19. Casi todos los neoyorquinos se han visto afectados, pero las primeras evidencias sugieren que las comunidades minoritarias, inmigrantes e indígenas en Queens, Brooklyn y el Bronx están siendo las más afectadas, mientras que se escucha lo más mínimo posible. Las comunidades diversas y multilingües de Nueva York tienen trabajadores de la salud, líderes comunitarios, maestros, padres y personas comunes en primera línea, y están luchando en una batalla sin precedentes.

Nueva York COVID-19 es un proyecto que presenta grabaciones diarias en muchos idiomas diferentes que describen lo que están experimentando los miembros de algunas de las comunidades más afectadas pero menos conocidas de la ciudad. Todos los días, nuestros 10 corresponsales, de una variedad de culturas en Asia y América Latina, graban una “diario” en audio de 10 minutos sobre lo que les está sucediendo a ellos y a su comunidad, en su lengua materna y con un mensaje en inglés/español para un público más amplio. Al igual que la actualización diaria del gobernador del estado de Nueva York, Cuomo, este diario reflejan tanto los desafíos personales de vivir en cuarentena durante una epidemia como las noticias y pensamientos, miedos y esperanzas, que circulan entre familias, amigos y comunidades. Nueva York COVID-19 no es la noticia, sino algo mucho más personal y real: experiencia vivida.

Mother Tongues is a photography series created by Yuri Marder in collaboration with ELA and with support from the National Endowment of the Arts. Hosted on the Google Cultural Institute, the exhibit features photographs of endangered language speakers in New York, along with recordings and information about their languages.

Visit the full exhibit here.

 

Mariam Ghani Mural

ELA’s work has been the basis of the two first-ever exhibits devoted to the languages of New York City, first at City Lore Gallery from January through April 2015, then at the Queens Museum from April to July 2016. An estimated 70,000 people saw the two exhibits.

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At the heart of both exhibits were ten large, high-quality photographs by Yuri Marder (see above), featuring ELA’s local collaborators in New York City, each one of whom speaks a different endangered language. Accompanying several portraits were sound recordings and short written texts.

At the Queens Museum, the main hall featured The Garden of Forked Tongues (top of the page), a giant mural created by artist Mariam Ghani based on ELA data, in which each of the 59 polygons on the wall represents an endangered language spoken in Queens. Alongside the exhibit, ELA also hosted a day-long open recording session at the museum on May 29, 2016, recording interviews in Hokkien, Cantonese, Kichwa, Tibetan, Nepali, Mustangi, Tamang, Tashelhiyt, and Southern Zaza, not to mention Spanish and English (about language issues). We talked to devout Buddhists, political refugees, visitors from Malaysia, and a career translator for the NY state supreme court, among others. A June 11 ELA roundtable at the museum, “Languages Lost and Found: A Roundtable” featured writers, translators, linguists and practitioners discussing language endangerment, revitalization and multilingualism in both a local (New York) and global context.

At City Lore,“Mother Tongues: Endangered Languages in New York and Beyond”, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, also included a map highlighting New York’s connection to linguistic diversity across the globe, a children’s book section, information on New York City English, and an area where visitors could record their own language. Many visitors contributed to the show by adding a line to the “People’s Khonsay”, an evolving poem in 50 different languages, in their own mother tongue.

“Mother Tongues” was also featured on Channel 7 and Channel 4 News in New York City, as well as on NPR. ELA also organized seven public programs in the gallery space, almost all of them filled to capacity:

  • Jan. 29, 2015 – Opening Reception: The exhibition was presented by the curators and artists to an over-capacity crowd.
  • Feb. 12, 2015 – Screening of “If These Knishes Could Talk”, a film on the New York accent, presented by director Heather Quinlan and followed by an “Accent Slam”.
  • Feb. 18, 2015 – Screening of “Language Matters with Bob Holman”, a PBS film on endangered languages, followed by discussion with poet Bob Holman and ELA director Daniel Kaufman.
  • Feb. 26, 2015 – More than Maize & Molé: Nahuatl Language Through Food. Nahuatl teacher and chef Irwin Sanchez demonstrated the preparation of pre-Hispanic Mexican food together with a lesson in Nahuatl food terms.
  • Mar. 12, 2015 – Documenting Traditional Garifuna Song in NYC and Belize: A concert with the Garifuna group Libaña Marasa, recorded as part of a larger project to document traditional Garifuna music in NYC and Honduras. Part of the event can be seen on ELA’s Youtube channel.
  • Mar. 18, 2015 – Mameloshen: Sharing Songs & Memories of Yiddish-Speaking NYC:
    A concert of Yiddish folksongs led by Ethel Raim of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Followed with a talk by Ross Perlin on the role of Yiddish in NYC.
  • Mar. 28, 2015 – Languages of the Caucasus – Songs from the Lazuri language of Eastern Turkey.
  • Apr. 22, 2015 – The People’s Khonsay: The exhibit closed with a reading by Bob Holman and Daniel Kaufman of the “People’s Khonsay”, a collection of favorite expressions and untranslatable words contributed by visitors in their mother tongue over the course of the 3 month exhibit.

 

Mother Tongues 4Mother Tongues 5

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ELA does a wide range of outreach events with speakers of endangered languages and with the general public.

ELA volunteers have spent time getting to know the indigenous Mexican population in Corona, Queens, or communities from the former Soviet Union in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. This can be easy as posting flyers and talking to people we meet in the street. In other cases, we reach individuals through community radio, print media and through attending public festivals, such as those for Cinco de Mayo, among others. Our outreach goal is to contact as many speakers of threatened and endangered languages in New York City as possible in order to collaborate with them on projects that can document and support their languages for future generations. At the same time, our volunteers gain an appreciation for these communities, their linguistic heritage, and what is involved in language documentation. In many cases, ELA volunteers have used this experience to gain a footing in the field of linguistics and continue their studies on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Slowly but surely, we are getting the word out to New Yorkers from all over the globe that there exists an organization dedicated to working with them to support their threatened languages.

We also strive to educate the public about the value of linguistic diversity and the intertwined problems of language death and environmental destruction. We take every opportunity to introduce the public to the various peoples from around the world who maintain their endangered languages and cultures here in NYC. We do this through public events at museums, lectures in middle schools, high schools and universities, as well as other regular events.

Our outreach and education activities have included:

  • Transnational Voices, an event bringing together indigenous-language radio producers to exchange experience, knowledge, and strategies.
  • ELA co-founder Daniel Kaufman spoke at the 2015 Jane Jacobs Forum, and at the 2015 Polyglot Conference about “Documenting Global Languages Locally.”

Radio Alcal 3 Radio Alcal

Alcal Latin Radio, with its unique program of Spanish- and indigenous-language programming, broadcasts live online from ELA’s recording studio in New York City. Featuring music, commentary, and interviews with indigenous activists, artists, and community members in the New York area. Listen below for a sample:

Zenaida Cantú on Tlapanec

Aracelis Salazar on Nahuatl

Maximiliano Bazan on Mixtec

 

Radio Alcal is currently running three shows every other week, New York time. You can listen to live broadcasts at alcallatinradio.yolasite.com.

Monday 6:30-7:30 pm: Talakgastakgni (The Awakening) / José Juarez (Totonac and Spanish)

Cultural program all about Latin America
PROGRAMA CULTURAL. TODO SOBRE AMERICA LATINA.

 

Thursday 8-9 pm: Voces Sin Fronteras (Voices Without Frontiers) / Leobardo Ajtzalam (K’iche’ and Spanish)

Program on human rights in New York and Latin America, and the culturals and languages of Meso-America
PROGRAMA SOBRE DERECHOS HUMANOS. EN NY y AMERICA LATINA. TAMBIEN SOBRE LAS CULTURAS Y LENGUAS DE MESOAMERICA

Saturday 3 pm-5 pm: Umalali Garifuna (The Voice of the Garifuna) / Luis Baltazar, Julio Arzu, Carlos Gotay (Garifuna and Spanish)

All things Garifuna around the world, language and culture, human rights and community events, reincarnation of the original show started in 1991 by Felix Miranda, broadcast from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on WLIB
TODO SOBRE LA GARIFUNIDAD EN EL MUNDO, Y SOBRE TODO EL ACONTECER EN LA VIDA DE LA COMUNIDAD GARIFUNA, LENGUAS Y CULTURAS, DERECHOS Y EVENTOS COMUNITARIOS

ELA in the Classroom

ELA researchers frequently visit schools and colleges to give presentations on cultural and linguistic diversity, mulitilingualism, linguistics, specific languages, and ELA’s work in New York City, among other topics. We have presented at middle schools, high schools, and a wide range of colleges and universities from Sarah Lawrence to Yale to the University of London. ELA linguists, many of whom also have permanent faculty positions, have also taught full-length courses at Columbia, NYU, CUNY, Rutgers, and many other schools. Co-Director Ross Perlin’s new Columbia course “Endangered Languages in the Global City” launched in fall 2019.

Nowhere is New York’s linguistic diversity better represented than in our public school system. According to one estimate, New York City’s public school students speak over 185 languages at home and a wide range of dual-language programs are flourishing across the city.

ELA has long been hosting and visiting local high school and colleges — over the past three years, we’ve particularly proud to help shape unique new classes, such as “Multilingual NYC” at the iSchool, an NYC public school in SoHo. Working with 25 high school students and their teacher Katy Barber, we formed the (very multilingual) students into neighborhood survey teams. From the Bengali Bronx to Mixtec and Yemeni Arabic in Harlem, the students created fantastic maps and conducted interviews. 

If your school might be interested, please get in touch!