Fwd: Endangered languages applications

Andy Pawley apawley at coombs.anu.edu.au
Sun Jul 28 02:09:38 UTC 2002

Dear Papuanists and Austronesianists

As many of you will know, substantial sums of money are at last being
made available for fundamental research on endangered languages. I am
attaching a document with details of three sources of funding.

The newest and largest source is the Lisbet Rausing Fund, some 16
millions pounds, or about $US 30 million, to be administered by SOAS
(the School of Oriental and African Studies) at the U. London.  The
Rausing Fund will probably be most flexible and widely accessible of
the three sources in this document.  The administrative machinery for
this fund is still being put in place but I understand a notice
inviting a first round of applications will be published quite soon.
Copies of two SOAS press releases about this fund are appended, along
with a web address for an article about it in Scientific American.

Andrew Pawley

Date:         Tue, 16 Jul 2002 13:40:14 +0100
Reply-To: info at eldp.soas.ac.uk
Sender: FUNKNET -- Discussion of issues in Functional Linguistics
               <FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu>
From: Jacqueline Arrol-Barker <info at eldp.soas.ac.uk>
Subject: The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme From:
Jacqueline Arrol-Barker <info at eldp.soas.ac.uk>
Subject: The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme
To: FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu

Please find below outline details of a new research programme for the
documentation of Endangered Languages.

Initial announcement

The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme

A.   A new research programme for the documentation of endangered languages.

There is a very strong prospect that a private foundation will initiate a
programme of grants to support the documentation of endangered languages,
and appoint the School of Oriental & African Studies, London University
[SOAS] to administer the scheme.  The prospective Invitation to Apply, which
is likely to be disseminated in late August, will contain full guidelines
and contact details for any further inquiries.  In the interim, no further
details will be made available and prospective applicants are requested to
avoid contacting SOAS with inquiries.

The purpose of this announcement is to indicate the rationale of the
putative programme and enable potential applicants to begin considering the
details of their possible proposals.

B.  Rationale.

The rationale of such a programme will be familiar to potential applicants:
the pace at which languages are becoming extinct is increasing throughout
the world.  Furthermore, since only about one-third of the world’s languages
have literate traditions, the vast majority of languages which die will
leave no substantial record of themselves, or the cultural traditions that
they have sustained.  Quite apart from the loss of individual cultural
expressions, this process reflects a grave diminution in human and cultural
diversity and a loss of the knowledge on which they are based and which they

The objective of the proposed programme would be twofold:  to encourage the
development of linguistic fieldwork in endangered languages, especially by
younger scholars with a grounding in linguistic theory, who will thereby
also be provided with support between basic graduate work and the assumption
of university positions; and to support the documentation of as many
threatened languages as possible, focused on where the danger of extinction
is greatest, facilitating the preservation of culture and knowledge, and
creating repositories of data for the linguistic and social sciences, and of
course for indigenous communities. Such documentation should, therefore,
have regard not only to the formal content and structure of languages, but
also to the varied social and cultural contexts within which languages are
used.  In addition to the intellectual quality of applications, principal
grounds for support will be the degree of endangerment and the urgency of
the issues.

C.  Applications.

Applications will be invited from researchers  - who might include suitably
qualified research students or postdoctoral candidate, as well as senior and
established academics  - with qualifications in and, ideally, experience of
field linguistics.  It is anticipated that all applicants will have, or will
have developed in advance of funding, a formal link with (preferably an
established position in) a university or comparable research institution.

The core of the programme will probably be grants to support more or less
elaborate projects for the documentation of individual or closely related
endangered languages, involving one or more researchers and receiving
support for up to three or, in exceptional circumstances four, years.
However, individuals (including suitably qualified research students and
postdoctoral fellows) may apply for grants.

In the first instance applicants will be expected to submit a relatively
brief Summary Proposal Form.  These will be assessed and those, which appear
to conform to the programme’s expectations as to importance and quality,
will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

It is anticipated that in this first ‘round’ the date for submission of
Summary Proposals will be mid-October 2002; invitations to submit detailed
applications will be despatched in late November 2002; and the closing date
for detailed applications will be early January 2003.

Detailed applications will have to conform to a variety of standards
(including ethical and technical standards), which will be specified in the
formal Invitation to Apply some time in late August.  Meanwhile, potential
applicants are requested not to contact SOAS.

Date:         Fri, 26 Jul 2002 12:08:18 +0100
Reply-To: info at eldp.soas.ac.uk
Sender: FUNKNET -- Discussion of issues in Functional Linguistics
               <FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu>
From: Jacqueline Arrol-Barker <info at eldp.soas.ac.uk>
Subject: Endangered Languages Project
Comments: To: Linguist <linguist at unix.tamu.edu>,
           Endangered Languages <endangered-languages-l at carmen.murdoch.edu.au>,
           Lagb Essex <lagb at essex.ac.uk>, LGShift <lgshift at lists.sil.org>,
           Indknow <indknow at u.washington.edu>,
           "Elsnet-List at Let. uu. Nl" <elsnet-list at let.uu.nl>,
           "Ling-Amerindia at Unicamp. Br" <ling-amerindia at unicamp.br>,
           "Celtic-T at Tc. Umn. Edu" <celtic-t at tc.umn.edu>,
           "Centralasia-L at Fas. Harvard. Edu" <centralasia-l at fas.harvard.edu>,
           "Lingtyp at Listserv. Linguistlist. Org"
           <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>,
           Anthro-L <anthro-l at listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu>,
           Colibri <colibri at let.uu.nl>, Corpora <corpora at hd.uib.no>,
           <linguistic-exploration at listserv.linguisticlist.org>,
           Fonetiks-Request <fonetiks-request at mailbase.ac.uk>,
           Language-Culture <language-culture at cs.uchicago.edu>,
           <australian-linguistics-l at coombs.anu.edu.au>,
           Nzlinguist <nzlinguist at massey.ac.nz>
To: FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu

Press Release

To help explore and record linguistic diversity across the globe, a British
foundation has provided £20,000,000 over ten years to create an
international scholarly program to study endangered languages.

The scale of the funding is commensurate with the urgent--and
enormous--threat to the world's linguistic diversity. Many of the languages
that will be studied are linguistic isolates. All are very nearly extinct.
They have never been adequately analysed or recorded, and they are typically
spoken only by a few elderly people. These languages--and their
speakers--deserve to be remembered, and to take their place in history. At
the same time, this worldwide project to preserve crucial knowledge about
the world's linguistic heritage will vitally illuminate the history of how
humanity settled the earth.

The Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund aims to support research in the
humanities and the social sciences. This grant, together with other family
benefactions amounting to many millions of pounds, is intended by the Hans
Rausing family to help British universities maintain the highest standards
of academic scholarship.

When deciding to secure the participation of SOAS in this program--a process
that took many months of consultation--the Fund's trustees expressed the
greatest confidence in the achievements and potential of the School, and in
enthusiasm and dedication of its scholars and leaders. The trustees were
impressed by the fit between their own profound concern at the threat to
knowledge of linguistic and cultural diversity globally, and SOAS's
long-standing and distinguished study of small languages in Africa, Asia,
the Middle East and elsewhere. The Fund's trustees also share with SOAS a
commitment to the highest ethical standards when co-operating with small
language communities-- people who are often marginalized and dispossessed.

Part of the grant will underwrite an academic programme within SOAS,
utilising SOAS's staff and facilities. It will train field-workers and
deepen knowledge of endangered languages through specially designed courses
in field linguistics generally and endangered languages in particular as
well as by co-ordinating scholarly activity, publicity and consultation in
the field.  But the bulk of the fund will be administered by SOAS to provide
grants to scholars throughout the world to document and analyse endangered

Professor Colin Bundy, Director and Principal of SOAS, voiced unqualified
delight at the news of the award.  "SOAS was founded in 1916 as a specialist
institution for the study of languages in Asia, and later in Africa.  We
created the first British linguistics department (in 1932) and our Library
was identified in 1961 as a national resource for the study of Africa and
Asia.  Our history, mission and ethos equip us for this visionary project."
He stressed that in addition to the School's regionally defined departments
concentrating on language and culture its range of disciplinary
departments – such as anthropology, history, linguistics – offered a rich
opportunity for becoming a world leader in the documentation and study of
endangered languages.

SOAS and the Fund together will underwrite the infrastructure to manage this
grants programs. This means that other families, foundations and companies
that would like to donate to this cause, will have the security of knowing
that 100% of their money goes directly to the recording and study of nearly
extinct languages.  The costs of research and documentation to ensure that
full knowledge of a language and its use are preserved will vary, but the
average is about £150,000: we urge all readers of this to give generously to
this profoundly important cause--before those thousands of the world's
languages (well over 50% of the total) that are now highly threatened,
disappear forever. No sum is too small, and all money donated will go
directly, fully, and only to the cause of recording near-extinct
languages--and thus save a unique world heritage.


Direct payments to SOAS can be made direct to the School’s bank at:

National Westminster Bank plc
94 Moorgate
London EC2M 6XT
Sort Code: 56-00-23     Account No: 08622655

All general enquiries should be addressed to Mary O’Shea at SOAS on 07898
4075 or mo2 at soas.ac.uk

X-Sender: mross at email.eva.mpg.de (Unverified)
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 15:38:28 +0200
To: apawley at coombs.anu.edu.au, jbowden at coombs.anu.edu.au
From: Malcolm Ross <mross at eva.mpg.de>
Subject: Fwd: scientific american on endangered languages
X-Virus-Scanned: by AMaViS perl-11

>X-Sieve: cmu-sieve 2.0
>Delivered-To: linguistics at eva.mpg.de
>X-Sender: comrie2 at email.eva.mpg.de
>Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 13:22:36 +0200
>To: linguistics at eva.mpg.de
>From: Bernard Comrie <comrie at eva.mpg.de>
>Subject: scientific american on endangered languages
>X-Virus-Scanned: by AMaViS perl-11
>Dear All:
>The August edition of Scientific American contains an article on
>endangered languages. the article can be downloaded in pdf format
>from the following URL:
>PS: The above relates to the US/North American edition. Other local
>editions may differ in content.

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