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Category:   E-Announce
Subject:   he Endangered Languages Documentation Programme
Email:   Info_(on)_eldp.soas.ac.uk
Date received:   10 Jul 2002
Deadline:   15 Oct 2002

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 embody. 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.

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