The Language Conservancy
The Language Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that provides language revitalization support to the world's endangered languages, restoring them to health and stability, and safeguarding them for future generations. The LC supports several ongoing language restoration efforts through its affiliate organizations, and includes the Lakota language, Assiniboine language, Crow language and the Hidatsa language. The Language Conservancy raises funds for and revitalizes these languages.
Native American language crisis
The Language Conservancy is currently focused largely on indigenous languages in the United States, where only a dozen or so of the original 400-500 have a chance of surviving beyond the next thirty years. Government aid to this problem is limited and the few grant-providing foundations are over-burdened.
Language Revitalization Best Practices
The following Best Practices standards were developed in 2004 by a consortium of Lakota Tribal leaders and academic linguistic science and education professionals, to bring about the revitalization of the Lakota language. The result is a comprehensive system for language revitalization, comprising five major parts that are clearly defined, measurable, and interdependent. This consortium is now the Board and staff of the Language Conservancy.
Linguistics: develop pedagogically correct curriculum and literature for the language at all its levels and across a range of uses; our primary focus is on K-16 schools.
Instruction: retrain existing Lakota language teachers and develop a new language teacher corps utilizing proven teaching methodologies.
Education: start with a standard, sequenced second language curriculum to lay the ground work for a population of second-language speakers and eventual Lakota-medium instruction.
Oversight: provide accountability by conducting pre-and post-testing of language proficiency in schools at sequenced intervals of instruction.
Social: promote and support language use beyond the schools – homes and communities.
- The Language Conservancy
- Financial Times: Languages remain in danger of extinction
- New York Times: In California, Saving a Language that Predates Spanish and English