Sustain Your Language

If you know an Indigenous, minority, endangered, or primarily oral language and want to collaborate, here are some things you can do.

Do you want to do something for an Indigenous, minority, endangered, or primarily oral language language that you know, even partially, or that was used in your family or community? Is there some area in which you feel your language is lacking in resources or support compared to languages like English?

ELA receives requests all the time from individuals and organizations looking to do something for their language. Given our small staff and limited resources, we can’t always help, but we always try. While there are no hard and fast rules about what counts as an endangered language, we give priority whenever possible to working on behalf of languages that are not official languages of any nation-state, do not have a large base of current speakers, and may lack resources on and offline.

For those who get in touch, we usually try to tailor any collobration to the needs and desires of the community and the individuals we’re working with, while looking closely at available resources. There is no one-size-fits-all approach!

This list is not exhaustive, but among the options we try to offer are:

  • General advice about researching, learning, or transmitting languages, or a particular language
  • Connections with those in the ELA network who may already be working on a language or have relevant materials
  • Support, and in some cases fiscal sponsorship, as a U.S. 501(c)(3) for projects that need a non-profit partner
  • Access to dictionaries, grammars, linguistic papers, and other linguistic materials not available elsewhere
  • In-person, in-depth collaboration, where appropriate, with those in New York metropolitan area
  • Centrally located space in Manhattan, free of charge for classes, events, and other activities by language communities and reclaimers
  • Recording and documentation of speakers in cases where few high-quality materials exist, especially in and around New York
  • Archiving of linguistic materials that fit ELA’s mission
  • Support with and publicity for relevant language revitalization activities including programs, children’s books, teaching materials etc.