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Seminar

Preserving endangered languages and local knowledge:
Learning tools and community initiatives in cross-cultural discussion


Organizers: Erich Kasten and Tjeerd de Graaf

A first workshop of this seminar & book project was held from October 2-6th, 2011, at the Foundation for Siberian Cultures. During this meeting, initial contributions by the following participants were discussed:
    • Learning tools on languages and traditional knowledge in Kamchatka (Erich Kasten, Kulturstiftung Sibirien).
    • Anthropology and applied anthropology in Siberia: questions and solutions around a nomadic school among Evenk reindeer herders (Alexandra Lavrillier, University of Versailles).
    • Learning your endangered mother tongue in a small multilingual community: the case of the Tundra Yukagir in Andriushkino (Cecilia Odé, University of Amsterdam).
A second workshop was held from January 5-8th, 2012, during which more contributions – mostly focusing on Western Siberia – and comparative papers on the Frisian language and the Yi in China were discussed.
    • The use of sound archives for the investigation and teaching of some endangered Uralic languages (Victor Denisov, Udmurt Institute for History, Language and Culture, Iszhevsk, Russia, and Tjeerd de Graaf, Fryske Academy, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)
    • Revitalisation of two endangered languages in Eastern Asia: Nivkh and Ainu (Tjeerd de Graaf, Fryske Academy, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, and Hidetoshi Shiraishi, Sapporo Gakuin University, Japan).
    • Challenging the state educational system in Western Siberia: Taiga school and multimedia center on the Tiuitjakha river (Stephan Dudeck, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland).
    • Multilingualism and language teaching in Europe: The case of Frisian and the work of the Mercator Research Centre (Tjeerd de Graaf and Cor van der Meer, Fryske Academy, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands).
    • Cultural awareness equals language preservation? Virtual platforms, language and culture in a Chinese minority context: the example of the Yi (Olivia Kraef, Freie Universität Berlin).
Also participating in the discussions were Teresa Valiente and Michael Dürr (Lateinamerika-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin).

Besides reviewing the draft articles for later publication, video films on learning situations in various fieldsites were viewed. Selected clips from these videos will be combined in a DVD. Its aim is to keep the indigenous communities targeted by these seminars informed about our activities. It will also allow them to share among themselves any subsequent initiatives on these pressing issues. 
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Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung
Finno-ugorski mir
Arctic Anthropology, Rovaniemi