Q:

How can you find information about the languages of different tribes?

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Quick Answer

Information about tribal languages is available at the California Language Archive, the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America and the Indigenous Language Institute. Many research archives studying and preserving the language of various indigenous and tribal peoples are part of the Open Language Archives Community.

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Full Answer

Examples of organizations preserving and studying tribal languages include the California Language Archive at the University of California, Berkeley, which focuses on preserving information on the over 80 tribal languages formerly and currently spoken in California and the western United States. Similarly, the University of Texas at Austin hosts the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America. Focused research archives exist in Hawaiian and Alaskan universities as well for the indigenous languages spoken in those regions. Independent groups for the study and preservation of tribal languages include the Indigenous Language Institute in New Mexico, which partners with the National Indian Education Association.

Many of these focused research archives are part of the Open Language Archives Community, an international partnership of groups seeking to archive language resources and create repositories for virtual access to that information. OLAC claims to have resources of about half of the world's living languages, and scholars can search for language resources by region. In addition to American indigenous languages, which are considered critically endangered, OLAC includes archives focused on African languages and aboriginal languages.

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