Court rules against Yup'ik as an historically written language ...

Donald Z. Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Thu Jul 24 13:07:47 UTC 2008

I'm also troubled by the potential misuse of "historically (un)written."

But WRT the specific case in question, if oral assistance in a  
"historically unwritten" language is offered to voters who need it,  
how is it given?  Do the poll workers translate ad hoc or read off of  
a script / talking-points in the relevant language? The former would  
seem to be problematic and the latter conceding something about the  
language's written status.


From: Indigenous Languages and Technology  
[mailto:ILAT at LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU] On Behalf Of Susan Penfield
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:10 AM
Subject: Re: [ILAT] Court rules against Yup?'ik as an historically  
written language ...

Thanks for this -- the context does help. However, the notion of  
'historically unwritten" is still troubling to me.
Hasn't Yup'ik been written use since the late 1800's? ( I'm told that  
is when the church-based orthography
came into use).


On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 1:32 AM, William J Poser  
<wjposer at> wrote:
I have posted my thoughts on the ruling, with links to the ruling
and other documents, on Language Log:

In context I don't think that the ruling is as outrageous as it


Susan D. Penfield, Ph.D.

Department of English (Primary)
American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI)
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching Ph.D. Program (SLAT)
Department of Language,Reading and Culture(LRC)
Department of Linguistics
The Southwest Center (Research)
Phone for messages: (520) 621-1836

"Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed of  
thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities."

Wade Davis...(on a Starbucks cup...)

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