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Pike Center awards three small grants

Through its Small Grants Program, the Pike Center sponsors research and publication that address issues faced by language communities on the margins of society. We are pleased to announce that three grants have been awarded in the latest cycle of this program.

$2,800 has been awarded to Pete Unseth for a project entitled “Field manual for proverb research: Producing a resource for aspiring scholars to study and publish on proverbs from their own languages.” Thousands of language groups across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific have used the verbal art form of the proverb to capture and pass down their collective wisdom.  Local scholars know and value their proverbs and want to share them with the wider world, but need a tool to help them know how to do this. The grant will allow Dr. Unseth, who has more than a dozen publications in the area of proverb studies, to complete his work on a field manual for such aspiring scholars. It will offer methods for collecting many proverbs, describe alternative ways to format and translate them, explain a variety of approaches for analyzing proverbs, and present ideas on how to use proverbs for community benefit. Dr. Unseth is Associate Professor of Applied Anthropology at Dallas International University and a Fellow of the Pike Center; he holds  a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

$2,200 has been awarded to Brenda Boerger for her work on “An illustrated indigenous autobiography: Promoting language vitality, literacy, and well-being.”  Dr. Boerger has observed a decline in the spoken and written vitality of the Natugu language (Santa Cruz Island, Solomon Islands) over the past 10 years, but has also observed that recent language development efforts have led to a resurgence of interest in the language and culture. This grant will allow her to complete work on The Autobiography of Simon G. Meabr (1921–2012) and publish it in multiple formats, including a diglot version intended for grade six classrooms on the island, an English version for a national audience, and a version with morphological analysis and interlinear glossing for linguistic scholars. The autobiography is a culturally and historically significant text by an indigenous leader and is the longest known work authored by a Natugu speaker.  Dr. Boerger is a Language and Culture Documentation Consultant with SIL International and a Fellow of the Pike Center; she holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

$2,600 has been awarded to Sangsok Son for a book publishing project entitled “Negotiating linguistic diversity in classrooms.” Son’s doctoral research investigated approaches to pedagogy within multilingual classrooms in two schools in Delhi, India. His unpublished dissertation documents how teachers and students negotiate the linguistic barriers posed by the fact that the students’ various home languages are different from the medium of instruction. The grant will allow Dr. Son to use the Pike Center’s Agile Publishing platform to create an ebook for sharing these research results widely and to refine them as literacy and education practitioners around the world engage with the content and give feedback. Dr. Son is a Literacy and Education Consultant with SIL in Asia and is a Pike Scholar; he holds a PhD in Education from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Gary Simons