RIT symposium to explore linguistic research on native languages of the Americas

March 17 event features national experts on legacy of language, language documentation

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Wilson Silva, a linguist in RIT’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts, is working to study and preserve native Brazilian languages. He will present his findings at a March 17 symposium at RIT.

On March 17, experts from across the country will converge at Rochester Institute of Technology to report on the progress of studying and saving native languages of the Americas. They will share their knowledge with RIT linguists and computer scientists who have similar goals, such as preserving the language of native tribes like the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Linguistics and the Native Languages of the Americas,” presented by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, will be held Monday, March 17, in RIT’s Campus Center Bamboo Room.

Featured linguistic experts are:

  • Lyle Campbell, University of Hawaii, Manoa. “American Indian Linguistic Diversity in Global Perspective: What Does it Mean?” 1–2 p.m.; “What’s Gained from Language Documentation? Lessons from the Gran Chaco,” 3:30–5 p.m.
  • Marianne Mithun, University of California, Santa Barbara. “Revitalization: The More Obvious and the Less Obvious,” 10:15–11:30 a.m.; “The Past in Our Present: The Rich Legacy of Language,” 2–3:30 p.m.
  • Wallace Chafe, University of California, Santa Barbara. “The Automated English-Seneca Dictionary,” 10:15–11:30 a.m.
  • Robbie Jimerson, programmer, Seneca Language Revitalization Project. “The Seneca App for iPad,” 10:15–11:30 a.m.
  • Karen Michelson, University at Buffalo, SUNY. “Words in Oneida: The Long and Short of It,” 2–3:30 p.m.
  • Sarah Murray, Cornell University. “Topics from Cheyenne, in Fieldwork and Theory,” 2–3:30 p.m.
  • Wilson Silva, RIT. “The Desano Language Documentation Project,” 3:30–5 p.m.
  • Joyce McDonough, University of Rochester, “The Dene Speech Atlas,” 3:50–5 p.m.

A roundtable discussion follows from 5 to 6 p.m.

The free symposium is sponsored by RIT’s Native American Future Stewards Program, The Provost Mentoring Grant Program, the Honorable Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Chair of International Studies, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the College of Liberal Arts. For more information, email Silva at wdsgss@rit.edu. Interpreters will be provided upon request.