Daniel Kaufman: "Mapping Language Ideology in NYC"

SEP 17, 2020 | 4:00 PM TO 5:30 PM





September 17, 2020: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM




Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)



In this talk, I will present the Digital Map of the Languages of New York, the product of a multi-year collaborative effort based at the Endangered Language Alliance to produce the heretofore most detailed map of linguistic diversity in a megacity. The map, based on Perlin & Kaufman 2019, locates over 640 languages within New York City and includes information about the history of indigenous and threatened language communities throughout the city. With the help of the ARC program, I have expanded on the above work by investigating language ideologies and domains of language use within five of the most multilingual immigrant communities in the city, those of Mexico, Guatemala, Nepal, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with a focus on minoritized and Indigenous language groups. As immigration has been shown to affect indigenous peoples disproportionately in a wide range of countries, it is clear that a holistic approach to conserving global linguistic diversity must address Indigenous people in urban diaspora settings. I will highlight several success stories from New York in which endangered languages have been successfully transmitted to a new generation of learners in the home. I hope that these case studies and the strategies therein can serve as positive examples for communities facing language loss in New York and beyond.

Daniel Kaufman is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Queens College of the City University of New York. He received his BA in linguistics from the University of the Philippines, Diliman and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University. He is also a founder and co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, a non-profit organization working to document and sustain languages spoken by Indigenous and immigrant communities in New York City. As a linguist, his research focuses primarily on the Austronesian languages of the Philippines and Indonesia and in this connection he also serves as co-editor of the journal Oceanic Linguistics. For the last several years he has collaborated with computer scientist Raphael Finkel on an NSF grant to produce online linguistic corpora in endangered languages. He is also involved in a long-term collaboration focusing on questions of health and language among Indigenous New Yorkers from throughout the continent.