Reclaiming the Wampanoag Language
Everything about a culture can be found in its language, according to some anthropologists. So, what happens when a language becomes dormant?
Since 1993, linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird, of Mashpee, Mass., has been working to reclaim the Wampanoag ancestral language, which had been dormant for six generations. Jessie's work enabled the Womapnoag language to become the first American Indian language to reclaim itself with no living speakers. In 2010, she was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Grant for her work reviving her native tongue, and now there’s a documentary that captures her life’s work in progress.
View a clip from "We Still Live Here" a documentary film by Makepeace Productions about the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project:
Jessie Little Doe Baird is the founder and director of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. In 2010, Jessie won a MacArthur “Genius” grant for her work on reviving her native tongue.
Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned linguist and a professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT.