Linguistic Gratuity (Charities)

Enduring Voices Map

Image by Edith OSB via Flickr

Walt Wolfram is famous for his research on English language variation in North America, and also for his Principle of Linguistic Gratuity, which states that “Investigators who obtained linguistic data from members of a speech community should actively pursue ways in which they can return linguistic favors to the community” (Wolfram 1993, 227).  There are a number of ways that linguistic researchers can go about this.  In addition to the resources provided on LingEducator, we’d like to do our part by promoting topical charities that deserve your support.

Education Charities:

Adopt-A-Classroom: allows teachers classroom’s to be sponsored by online donors.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:  sponsoring education research and reform.

The Boys and Girls Club of America: helping to keep kids safe and educated after the school day ends.

JustGive.org:  includes a list of education related charities.

Linguapax:  supports plurilingual education and offers policy support on language education matters.

Linguistic Groups that Deserve Support:

The American Dialect Society:  ADS is responsible for the oldest and best Word of the Year (WOTY) vote each January, and a strong supporter of graduate students in linguistics.

The American Speech -Language Hearing Association (ASHA): ASHA helps people with language disorders, “making effective communication a human right, accessible and achievable for all.”

The Endangered Language Fund:  Nearly half of the 7000 languages currently being spoken today will disappear in our lifetime, and (unlike biological extinctions) these deaths will not leave behind a fossil record.  (In addition to visiting this webpage, you can also like them on Facebook.)

The Linguistics Society of America:  LSA provides, among other things, extensive support for graduate students in linguistics.

Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages:  an institute run by K David Harrison and Greg Anderson that is dedicated to preserving endangered languages.  They are currently teamed with the National Geographic Mission Programs in a project called Enduring Voices, which “seeks to support indigenous community grassroots efforts at language revitalization and language maintenance worldwide.”

A Way with Words: Wayword, Inc. produces the radio show by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, which airs on many NPR stations around the country.  Since it receives no funding from NPR or any of its affiliates, listener donations are critical. 

Easy Ways for Students to Give Back:

FreeRice.com: A website run by the United Nations World Food Program.  It provides free education (practice with the kinds of English vocabulary exercises you see on most standardized tests), and donates 10 grains of rice (through sponsorship) for each correct answer.  It’s a great way for students to help others in need!

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4 Responses to Linguistic Gratuity (Charities)

  1. Pingback: Language News: The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | Mind your language! Save dying 100 | The LingEducator Blog

  2. Pingback: Language News: The 10 Most Endangered Languages In The World | The LingEducator Blog

    • lingeducator says:

      Laura,
      You’re absolutely right! For those who aren’t in the know: Linguist list is a list serve for the linguistic community. Donations go towards funding graduate students in linguistics who run the site. It is a very worthy organization that has helped the professional development of linguistics considerably.

      Thank you so much for noticing this oversight!

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