On Endangered Languages

Ross Perlin at Artforum:

Reawakening dormant languages requires extraordinary acts of coordination—administrative, social, and emotional—but it is possible. Take jessie “little doe” baird, a Wôpanâak woman who, when pregnant with her fifth child, Mae Alice, had a vision of reviving her ancestral language—the first tongue the Pilgrims encountered in coastal Massachusetts, which had been without speakers for more than a century. baird studied linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then spent the next twenty-six years leading a revival of Wôpanâak; Mae Alice is the first Wôpanâak-speaking child in generations. In Ohio, activist Daryl Baldwin has spearheaded the revival of Myaamia, dormant since the 1960s, first teaching it to himself, his wife, and their four children. Common to both community-led efforts was meticulous linguistic research that fed into the creation of immersion programs focused on fostering fluent new speakers.

more here.