ELL: Language Query Room Advisory Board

Doug Whalen whalen at ALVIN.HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Wed Jul 3 19:57:45 UTC 2002

      The Endangered Language Fund, along with the Linguist List, is
creating a new function for language communities and linguists called
the Language Query Room (LQR).  This effort is being funded by a
grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).  This note is
to give you a preview of the LQR and to ask for volunteers for an
advisory board of native speakers.
      The LQR will be a space where questions about how to say things
in different endangered languages can be posted.  Someone who needs
to have a form translated, typically a language learner or a
linguist, will post a query via a form at the LQR site.  An automatic
email will be sent to everyone who has registered an interest in that
language.  If a native speaker feels like responding, they will use a
similar form on the site, and everyone on that language's list will
be informed that new material is present.  We hope to have both text
(in the native orthography) and audio supported.  All of the material
will be archived for future searching.
      Our current plan is to recognize the contribution of the native
speaker volunteers as official "Language Consultants." They will have
their status listed as such on LQR, and a brief biography will be
posted (if desired).  The primary motivation is the interest in the
language and the desire to see it more widely recognized by allowing
progress to be made on it outside of the field.  We are also hoping
to have an endangered language chat room, which would allow speakers
of the designated languages to converse with each other, with the
only "cost" being to have the discussions archived.  We will have a
pop-up keyboard that will make input of unusual orthographies much
simpler (we hope), for those languages that have such an orthography.
      As we work on the design of the LQR, we want to make it as
useful to the native communities as possible.  To help with that
effort, we are assembling an advisory board, composed of speakers of
endangered languages.  We would like to invite any who qualify to
contact us about joining the board.  The criteria are:
      *  Is a native speaker of and endangered language (since we
already have the viewpoint of the professional linguist well
      *  Has email and internet access (since the LQR will only exist
on the web, and the advisory board will only have virtual meetings by
      *  Is fluent in English (since the membership is intended to be
world-wide and those of us on the grant have only English as an
      *  Is able to spend a few hours over the next year reading email
and contributing an opinion about the best way to make the LQR
function (the time demands are small and on an email schedule rather
than a phone or meeting schedule).
      We are putting out this initial request over relevant lists
(Linguist and Endangered Languages), but if you know of someone who
meets the criteria and is not on these lists, please forward it to
them so that we can find the largest pool of candidates possible.
      Those who do not meet these criteria but who have comments about
the LQR are welcome to contact us as well, at the email addresses
      We hope to have a functioning site up this year.  The LQR will,
with luck, expand the range of language material that is used in
linguistic theorizing and enhance the stature of the endangered
languages in the process.
      We look forward to hearing from all interested parties, and we
will announce the LQR itself as soon as it is available.
      Durbin Feeling (Cherokee), Chair, LQR Advisory Board  <dfeeling at ou.edu>
      Douglas H. Whalen, President, Endangered Language Fund
<elf at haskins.yale.edu>

Doug Whalen (whalen at haskins.yale.edu)
Haskins Laboratories
270 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06511
203-865-6163, ext. 234
FAX:  203-865-8963
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