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Media Advisory

Upcoming conferences on revitalizing endangered languages

02 June 2004

ATTENTION: Attention: Higher education writers, city editors and photo desks

Contact: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
(510) 643-5651 ckm@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

Two upcoming conferences at the University of California, Berkeley, will offer guidance for revitalizing endangered languages. "Breath of Life: Silent No More" is a biennial event for California Indians. The other, "Language is Life, the 11th Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference" (SILC) is designed primarily for educators interested in the endangered languages of indigenous groups in North America and elsewhere.

"Breath of Life" is June 6-10. The SILC is June 11-13.

"Breath of Life" will be held in Room 370, Dwinelle Hall. The SILC will take place in Pauley Ballroom at UC Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union.

"Breath of Life" participants - about 60 members from about a dozen tribes - will make phrase books, songs and dictionaries and tour UC Berkeley language resources that hold recordings, field notes and other archival materials. They also will work with mentors on the pronunciation and grammar of their languages. The program ends at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 10, with cultural sharing and performances by California Indian groups.

The SILC participants are coming from all over the United States and Canada, and as far away as Australia and Taiwan. Topics will include language immersion schools; the history of language revitalization in the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and New Zealand; music, nursery rhymes and language learning; language resources and intellectual property law; and indigenous language efforts in the Pacific Rim.

An exhibit will open to the public from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10 in the Heller Reading Room of UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library. It will feature original California mission documents and presentations by tribal language committees about revival of their languages.


NOTE: For more information, contact Leanne Hinton, chair of UC Berkeley's linguistics department and a conference organizer, at (510) 643-7621.