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(May 2017) “Vital Voices: Linking Language and Wellbeing” was the theme for the 5th annual International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) 2-5 March. The conference was held on the Campus of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and was hosted by the University’s Department of Linguistics and the National Foreign Language Resource Center.
Documentation specialists and language researchers from around the world met to consider potential implications of endangered languages on public health. The conference website states: “Understanding the connections between language and wellbeing will potentially have implications for public health and policy and beyond, but also for language researchers, since traditional knowledge systems are among the most threatened domains of endangered language. Knowledge of esoteric domains such as botanical classification and traditional medicines is forgotten well before basic vocabulary and language structure.”
Presentations by SIL Staff included:
SIL values the documentation of endangered languages and cultural information for the long-term benefit of communities and as a means of preserving knowledge for academic purposes. Language is fundamental to human identity and to a sense of community and personal value. Documentation provides an opportunity for community members to participate in preserving heritage data for future generations. SIL is committed to serving language communities worldwide as they build capacity for preservation of their languages as well as efforts for language development—ensuring that a community’s language continues to serve its changing social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual needs and goals.