Professor David Delgado Shorter Featured on UCLA Today

By Cynthia Lee and Carmen Cebreros Urzaiz
Feb 28, 2013

To keep endangered languages spoken by indigenous people alive and vibrant, a professor of world arts and cultures has set up a UCLA user-driven website where speakers of languages that could go extinct can contribute to a working dictionary, chat, post audio and video clips, play word games and create a language-learning workbook.

The site, Wiki for Indigenous Languages (WIL), currently supports only one language as a preliminary test model, Yoem Noki, spoken, according to one estimate, by fewer than 400 Yaqui Indians living in Arizona and other parts of the southwest U.S. and by approximately 12,000 in other Yaqui communities in Mexico.

But that’s only the beginning of David Delgado Shorter’s vision for the website. Shorter, an associate professor of world arts and cultures, said several Native American tribes have already contacted him about the possibility of having their own languages featured on their own WIL site. The site shows placeholders for other endangered languages spoken across the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico, including Chalon, Tarahumara, Opata and four others. Shorter said he’s excited about taking a working model of the website to these and other communities in order to demonstrate what the site can offer them.

Read the full article here: