Linguistics Initiatives

The Linguistics Section is proud to conduct research in several areas of distinction, including but not limited to working with the Endangered Languages Catalog and English Language Project (ELCat) and the Jewish Life and Language in Southeast Michigan (JLLSM) Project. Read more about the two projects below.

  • Endangered Languages Catalog and English Language Project

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    Humanity today is facing a massive extinction: languages are disappearing at an unprecedented pace. And when that happens, a unique vision of the world is lost. With every language that dies we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most importantly, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life. In short, we lose the testimony of centuries of life.

    The Endangered Languages Project puts technology at the service of the organizations and individuals working to confront  language endangerment by documenting, preserving and teaching them. Through this website, users can not only access the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on endangered languages from the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat) compiled by teams at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and Eastern Michigan University, but they can also play an active role in putting their languages online by submitting information or samples in the form of text, images, audio or video files. In addition, users are able to share best practices and case studies through a knowledge-sharing section and through joining relevant Google Groups.

    Google oversaw the development and launch of this project with the long-term goal for it to be led by true experts in the field of language preservation. As such, oversight of the ELP site has transitioned to First Peoples' Cultural Council and Eastern Michigan University in coordination with the Governance Council.

  • Jewish Life and Language in Southeast Michigan (JLLSM)

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    Jewish Life and Language in Southeast Michigan (JLLSM) is a cooperative research project between the Jewish studies, linguistics and journalism programs of Eastern Michigan University. We're documenting life and language in the Jewish community of Southeast Michigan, capturing people’s experience in their own words. We’re interested in what it’s like to be a Jewish person in Southeast Michigan, the broader region, and the U.S., how you view the local area and any changes in the area that you’ve noticed over time—and, if you’ve lived elsewhere prior to coming here, what life was like before coming here and how it has changed.

    We are looking for people to help us with this study by participating in an interview about these and related topics. We’ll also ask some questions about language, for example, asking whether or not a sentence or word is something they might hear someone say in their community. The whole interview will take between an hour and an hour and a half.

    Note that we are temporarily pausing the interview process due to COVID-19 restrictions, but do feel free to contact us if you are interested in the project. If you would like to participate in the project and be interviewed, please contact us. You will hear from us when we are able to resume our interviews.

    If you have any questions, please email us.

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