In 2020 and 2021, ELA was in residency on Governors Island, a unique hub for cultural life just a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan or Red Hook, Brooklyn.
In 2020, with public events largely impossible because of Covid, the space was primarily devoted to ELA’s ongoing projects, with some outdoor meeting and greeting. In 2021, we hosted a full series of exhibits and programs in the house (Nolan Park 4A).
On view throughout spring, summer, and fall of 2021 were The Migration Codex by Cinthya Santos-Briones, and Mother Tongues: Endangered Languages in NYC and Beyond by Yuri Marder in collaboration with ELA, with videography by Donnetta Bishop-Johnson. The house also served as a space for linguists, language activists, speakers, and others doing language-related work — highlighting global linguistic diversity as reflected in the hyperlocal city, with components including photography, video, audio, and ELA’s new digital Languages of New York City map.
In addition to being open every weekend to the general public, the following special events were held:
Saturday June 5, 2:00 pm, The World in the City: ELA Meet and Greet
Join the Endangered Language Alliance for a first look at this summer’s exhibits — for an afternoon of photography, language, and culture.
Saturday June 19, 2:00 pm, Opening Reception: The Migration Codex and Mother Tongues
Join us for the opening reception for two artist installations: Mother Tongues by Yuri Marder and The Migration Codex by Cinthya Santos Briones! Meet and hear from the artists and from ELA Co-Director Daniel Kaufman.
Sunday June 27, 2:00 pm, More Than Maize and Mole: Nahuatl Language Through Food
Did you know the words for chocolate, tomato, avocado and chile all come form the Nahuatl language? Join Nahuatl teacher Irwin Sanchez as he discusses the etymologies behind popular Mexican cuisine and demonstrates the traditional preparation of several dishes. Not only will participants get a crash course in Nahuatl and be able to pronounce “tomato” and “chocolate” properly for the first time, they will also be treated to a sampling of authentic Nahuatl food from the Mexican state of Puebla.
Saturday July 17, 2:00 pm, The World in the City: Mapping the Languages of NYC
This spring, ELA released languagemap.nyc, the first comprehensive digital map of NYC, the most linguistically diverse urban area in the world, featuring 700 languages at over 1200 sites across the metro area. The map builds on over a decade of ELA’s work with speakers and communities to map the city’s lesser-known, minority, endangered, and Indigenous languages of the New York area. Come experience the map, in both its digital and print versions, and hear from the creators about how it was made.
Saturday July 31, 2:00-3:00 pm, The World in the City: Garifuna sing-along for children and adults
A children’s program for all ages: Garifuna musician and language activist James Lovell, from Dangriga, Belize, will teach his language to children through song, rhythm and storytelling.
The Garifuna people originated in the eastern Caribbean and are the descendants of Arawak, Carib and African peoples who co-existed on the island of Yurumein, what is today St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Garifuna is the only Arawak language of the Caribbean Islands that is still spoken by thousands on a daily basis and, over the last 50 years, it has become an important language of New York, too! Learn more about this unique culture, music and language in a fun interactive program that is sure to get you and your children moving and thinking.
Saturday July 31, 3:00-4:00 pm, Sounds of Sumatra: An Indonesian dance, music and song workshop
As a vast archipelago, Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands. In this special event, Saung Budaya, an acclaimed New York-based Indonesian dance group, will present the music and dance of Sumatra, one of the largest islands, focusing on the Acehnese, Minangkabau, and Batak peoples. The company will lead a short interactive workshop on Acehnese song with accompanying movements. Learn more about the Saung Budaya Dance company at www.saungbudaya.com.
Saturday October 2, 2:00 pm, The World in the City: Pamiri Storytime
Passing on a language has everything to do with children, and creating storybooks in endangered languages is vital. Come—young and old!—to hear children’s stories in the Pamiri languages of Tajikistan, part of a new collection ELA will be launching at the event. Pamiri language expert Husniya Khujamyorova will lead the event.
Saturday October 16, 2 pm, Closing Reception: The Migration Codex and Mother Tongues
Join us to celebrate the closing of two artist installations at the ELA house: Mother Tongues by Yuri Marder and The Migration Codex by Cinthya Santos Briones! Meet and hear from the artists and from ELA Co-Director Daniel Kaufman.