Endangered Language Fair

Date and Time
September 29, 2012
Event Details

The Ethnic Services Round Table of the New York Library Association, the Endangered Language Alliance, and the New York Public Library join forces to raise awareness about minority languages in danger. Attendees will learn why small languages matter and what efforts are being made to preserve them, besides hearing about several languages throughout the world from speakers involved in preserving—and celebrating—them. 

Wondering about smaller languages of the Americas, such as Ojibwe and Garifuna? How about the lesser-known European language Circassian, and the Indo-Aryan language of Bishnupriya Manipuri? These, as well as languages of the Jews throughout the world and the Celtic languages, are among the topics under discussion in this day-long event. 

Daniel Kaufman, linguist and founder of the Endangered Language Alliance, will discuss some of New York's endangered linguistic communities and their languages as well as showing recent video pieces from a collaboration with Google's Endangered Language Program on the languages of Timor. 

K. David Harrison, linguist and author of The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World's Most Endangered Languages will give a special multi-media presentation.  Prof. Harrison is a leader of the National Geographic's "Enduring Voices" project. He has spent the past decade working with speakers of some of the world's smallest and most endangered languages in locations in Siberia, India, Chile, the U.S. and elsewhere.   

Resources will be available for those interested in ways to learn smaller and endangered languages in the New York metropolitan area. 


10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Daniel Kaufman will give an introduction to the topic of endangered languages, methods used to preserve them, and work being done currently in New York City to spur language revitalization.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Languages of the Americas: Ojibwe and Garifuna.
12:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Time to visit tables, go out for lunch, and speak with presenters and others involved in language preservation efforts.
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. K. David Harrison will provide a global perspective on endangered languages and revitalization.
2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Bishnupriya Manipuri and Circassian.
3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Yiddish, Ladino and other languages of the Jewish Diaspora.
3:45 P.M.-5:00 p.m. Celtic Languages: Irish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton.

Confirmed speakers:

Daniel Kaufman, linguist, Endangered Language Alliance
Kalvin Hartwig, member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Cultural Activist: Ojibwe
James Lovell (Afrigarifuna Youth Ensemble), Garifuna musician, teacher, and Cultural Activist: Garifuna 
Ross Perlin, author and linguist: Yiddish, Ladino and other languages of the Jewish Diaspora
K. David Harrison, linguist and author of  The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World's Most Endangered Languages
Jonty Yamisha, Executive Director, Nassip Foundation: Circassian 
Uttam Singha, Pouri International: Bishnupriya Manipuri 
Seamus Blake, Host of the radio program, Míle Fáilte: Irish Gaelic 
Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew, Lecturer, Celtic Languages, University of Pennsylvania: Welsh 
Charles Kergaravat, President, BZH New York/Association of Bretons in New York: Breton 

All sessions of the Endangered Language Fair, to take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, will be wirelessly captioned. This will allow anyone to view the words as they are spoken in realtime on any internet-enabled computer, smartphone, or tablet. Point your browser to http://stenoknight.com/nypl to view the captions. Captions will also be projected onto a large screen at the event itself.

The speakers and agenda may be modified slightly, so please check back.

No reservations are required for this free event but we do recommend coming early as space is limited. Questions? Please call 212-340-0951.

Note: The Berger Forum, where this event will be held, is Room 227 on the 2nd floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.


 FM assistive listening devices available upon request with one week minimum advance notice. Call  212-340-0951 to request these devices.