VOCES – International Centre for the Study and Teaching of Lesser-Used Languages

Latest News

Centre for the Study and Teachung of Lesser-used Languages (CeSTeaLuL)

npr.org | November 17, 2011 | by Nik Martin

The Liet International Song Contest is a serious attempt to keep some of the continent's neglected languages alive. Among the other languages featured at Liet this year are Asturian, spoken by about 250,000 residents of northern Spain, Vepsian, with about 6,000 native speakers in Russia's Karelia region and West Frisian, spoken by about half a million people in the north of the Netherlands.

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independent.co.uk | November 16, 2011 | by Andrew Buncombe

The Andamans, a cluster of islands 700 miles east of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal, are home to three highly endangered languages. One of them, Great Andamanese, has only five speakers.

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The Economist | October 8, 2011

A century ago it was the “national language” of a vast empire. Today Manchu mixes with cigarette smoke blown through the wrinkled lips of 86-year-old Zhao Lanfeng in Sanjiazi, a village in China’s north-east. The words she croaks in her thatch-roofed, mud-brick farmhouse are precious. Ms Zhao calls herself one of only two fluent native speakers of Manchu left in the village, one of the last redoubts of a language that is verging on extinction.

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agencebretagnepresse.com | October 9, 2011

Academics, policy makers, politicians and language campaigners from two of the six Celtic countries were among the speakers at a conference in Brussels last week (6th October 2011) about the importance of early year's education in the development of minority languages.

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durangoherald.com | September 26, 2011 | by Heather Scofield

“Ich nuu’apag’apü uruskwa’èi.”

Translated on the pages of a digital dictionary downloaded to the computer desktops of government workers for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the sentence means, “The Ute language is disappearing.”

Experts and tribal leaders say culture is a critical component of American Indian life, affecting tribes’ interactions with government, family, the environment and their neighbors. But some say the practices and teachings of their heritage are fading within the Ute Nation’s tribal membership, and it could have painful effects for both the tribes and their neighboring communities.

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http://media.thestar.topscms.com/images/78/53/173298dc489b96e4fcfca28d84e6.jpegthestar.com | September 23, 2011 | by Antonia Zerbisias

Bear Country is now Sioux territory. That’s because the classic cartoon The Berenstain Bears is being dubbed into the endangered Lakota language and running on public TV in North and South Dakota. Mathó Waúnsila Thiwáhe — which translates to The Compassionate Bear Family — is the first animated series to be translated into a native American language in the U.S.

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walesonline.co.uk | September 15, 2011 | by Gareth Evans, Western Mail

The majority of Africa’s 2,000 languages are spoken only in remote communities where words have yet to be written down. Retired Cardiff University lecturer Dr Paul Tench is heading a project to help locals develop alphabets. Having returned from Zambia, he tells Education Wales about his progress.

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http://edl.ecml.at/Portals/33/images/EDL_Logo1.jpgThroughout Europe, 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe's 47 member states are encouraged to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school. Being convinced that linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent, the Council of Europe promotes plurilingualism in the whole of Europe.

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A trio of poet, professor, and field linguist have combined forces in the heart of New York City to document, support, and protect one of the most precious stores of cultural, scientific, and creative human knowledge: living languages.

The Endangered Language Alliance (ELA, pronounced ay-la) is a new organization whose goal is "is to further the documentation, description, maintenance, and revitalization of threatened and endangered languages, and to educate the public about the causes and consequences of language extinction."

In a small office on West 18th Street known as the Urban Fieldstation, endangered languages are being spoken, recorded, and translated before they possibly recede further into the margins.

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The Economist | September 10, 2011

Where in the world is the largest number of different languages spoken? Most linguists would probably plump for New Guinea, an island that has 830 recognised tongues scattered around its isolated, jungle-covered valleys. But a place on the other side of the world runs it close. The five boroughs of New York City are reckoned to be home to speakers of around 800 languages, many of them close to extinction.

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http://languagerichblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/lre-300x267.jpg?w=300&h=267This blog has been created as part of the Language Rich Europe project. We want to use this space to discuss, share ideas and trigger debate on multilingualism.

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HRELP aims to document endangered languages, train language documenters, preserve and disseminate documentation materials, and support endangered languages.

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rising.globalvoicesonline.org | July 18, 2011 | by Eddie Avila

"The use of the microblogging platform Twitter has become a way for speakers of underrepresented and minority languages all around the world to connect with others from the same language group regardless of geographic distances. Young people have often been at the forefront in the use of these digital tools, which can only help the process to preserve these languages."

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Link to Indigenous Tweets


radioaustralia.net.au | July 15, 2011

A campaign is gathering pace in New Zealand for recognition of the five main Pacific languages as official minority languages.

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bbc.co.uk | June 15, 2011

The text and translations compare Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Sark patois and show how writers and speakers have influenced each other.

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More on the book series


We are pleased to announce the formation of the Consortium on Training in Language Documentation and Conservation (CTLDC). The CTLDC has been established as an international response to the crisis confronting the world's languages by co-Directors Carol Genetti (University of California at Santa Barbara and InField founder) and Margaret Florey (co-founder and co-Director of the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity).

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Pressestelle Universität Bremen | 29.10.2009 11:58 | Eberhard Scholz

Beim Bremer Sprachen-Festival im September und Oktober 2009 sind drei neue internationale sprachwissenschaftliche Organisationen aus der Taufe gehoben worden. Sie befassen sich mit der Etnosprache der Marianen-Inseln, mit den indigenen Sprachen Amerikas oder den Indianersprachen sowie mit wenig verbreiteten Sprachen.

Weiter ...


Pacific News Center | Kevin Kerrigan

Guam - UOG President Robert Underwood and faculty members Rosa Palomo and Peter Onedera will present at the Festival of Languages in Bremen, Germany on September 27. The festival, “Celebrates language in a multitude of colorful events, thus creating an awareness of how exciting and important the investigation of language and languages can be.

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As an academic institution, VOCES is globally unique as the first centre devoted exclusively to the less widely spoken languages of the world. The centre in Bremen offers opportunities not only for the community of linguists to focus on lesser-used languages in their research.

VOCES is also intended as the institution where speech-communities can send representatives to receive adequate training in descriptive, historical and applied linguistics, field methodology, language planning and revitalisation to enable the speech-communities to take care of their language without the necessity to rely on the expertise of outsiders. Moreover, by language classes, seminars and other events, the centre serves the purpose of giving lesser-used languages more prominence in the general public perception. Thus, VOCES contributes to safeguarding the linguistic diversity of our world.

On October 7, 2009, the final day of the Festival of Languages [http://www.festival.uni-bremen.de], the International Centre for the Study and Teaching of Lesser-Used Languages was founded in Bremen/Germany. Dónall Ó Riagáin (Ireland), Steven R. Fischer (New Zealand), Christel Stolz and Thomas Stolz (both Germany) inaugurated CeSTeaLuL – later dubbed VOCES – in a ceremony which included speeches in Irish and Rapanui.

On the pages of VOCES you can find information about ongoing projects (Literacy Project), selected publications by VOCES members, and events related to the association. Furthermore, you can visit our expanding collection of resources on minority languages in the links section. The news section includes reminders for upcoming conferences, recent press reports and introduces new online resources. If you want to point us to relevant resources, conferences or workshops related to minority languages, please do not hesitate to send the information to voces@uni-bremen.de

For further information, contact the director of VOCES: stolz@uni-bremen.de.