National Science Foundation Division of Behaviorial and Cognitive Sciences Grant
AbstractOf the 6,000-7,000 languages now spoken globally, it is estimated that 90% will be replaced by dominant languages, and that the majority will be extinct by the end of this century. The loss of language entails the loss of cultural, ecological, and a myriad of other types of knowledge. For the scientific community, it is akin to losing a species. One area in which government agencies, scholars, and community members have placed great effort is developing long term digital language resources grounded in documentation, preservation and maintenance. As a result of this work, progress has been made in terms of best practices and policies for developing long term web-based language resources that have the potential to stifle language loss. In order to apply and expand the knowledge garnered over these last few years in this area for the purpose of documenting and preserving languages, a two-day planning session is proposed that brings together members of geographically diverse language communities in the United States and linguists. The project will answer two questions: (A) In what ways can the academic community and language communities work together to document and archive endangered languages using digital and online resources; (B) How best are language data storage and retrieval, community needs, and scientific inquiry integrated to preserve language loss and advance understanding. The culmination of the planning session will be: (1) identification of community infrastructure needs to support online and digital documentary resources; (2) identification of educational needs in terms of best practice for documentation and archiving; (3) identification of language resource and development of documentation plans for needed resources; (4) development of curriculum and resources (5) development of proposals for further funding for the implementation of documentation, archiving and curriculum for best practices.