UO to host indigenous language workshop this summer

Native language words

The University of Oregon’s Northwest Indian Language Institute will host a workshop this summer to foster advanced, archive-based linguistics research for language revitalization by the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages.

The field of archive-based linguistic research for revitalization has grown significantly in the last decade. This summer’s workshop is modeled after one held earlier this year at Miami University in Ohio, home to the Breath of Life institute.

The institute has provided training on how to use archival documentation for the revitalization of highly endangered languages. The UO workshop will take place July 13-17.

At the last workshop, 124 community researchers from 55 language communities participated. The workshops are designed to train participants in advanced methods of archive-based research for language revitalization. This includes the use of the new Indigenous Languages Digital Archive.

The archive system is the only available software that can organize, store and retrieve digital copies of linguistic archival materials. The Indigenous Languages Digital Archive directly links original manuscript pages containing historical language data with their transcription, translation and analysis. Its powerful search function allows the in-depth linguistic analysis required to reconstruct a highly endangered or sleeping language.

The software is modeled after the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive created in 2012 through the Myaamia Center at Miami University. After years of development and continued testing by a team of researchers at the UO’s Northwest Indian Language Institute, it is now being more broadly released.

“The development of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive is in recognition of and support for the rigorous linguistic analysis that community researchers carry out in order to revitalize their languages,” said Gabriela Pérez Báez, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the UO and co-director of National Breath of Life.

Applications for the workshop are now being accepted. For more information, including application information, visit nationalbreathoflife.org.