Multilingualism has been the norm since time immemorial, but it is now under threat around the world.
The term “revitalization” refers to strengthening a language by bringing it to a new generation of language learners. Worldwide, speakers of endangered languages are increasingly spearheading remarkable efforts with technology, education, community organization, and other strategies. Communities are fighting back against misguided language policies, linguistic chauvinism, and forced assimilation.
Education in endangered languages is a core part of our mission. We help interested communities run language classes, prepare educational materials (from video sing-a-longs to children’s books), and design programs for language maintenance and transmission to future generations.
ELA has supported revitalization efforts such as:
- Literacy materials for children in Tsou, an indigenous language of Taiwan.
- The Revitalizing Endangered Languages panel at the 2013 PEN World Voices festival.
- The Symposium on Language Revitalization in May 2012, in conjunction with the International Centre of Language Revitalization, CUNY Graduate Center, the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of the American Indian and the Auckland University of Technology.