Last spring, the University of Oklahoma’s Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History completed a successful pilot language workshop. The week-long event, titled Breath of Life: Silent No More Workshop, paired members of communities with no remaining fluent first speakers with linguist mentors. The mentors guided participants through methods of linguistic analysis and methodology which they could then take back to their communities to use.
A renewed grant from the National Science Foundation is making it possible for the workshop to be held again next spring. Participants in next year’s program will gain experience with archival materials and learn linguistic investigation and documentation techniques. If last year’s workshop is an indication of what next year holds in store, they may also walk away with a new dictionary or grammar underway. And since participants and their mentoring linguists are encouraged to maintain collaborative relationships after the workshop, communities may well end up with access to a mentoring linguist for the long-term.
More information on the upcoming workshop, to take place May 20-25, 2012, can be found here.