I felt very lucky to be honored with the Most Improved Cyclist award at the Stanford Tri Team end-of-year banquet. I have worked really hard this year to improve my triathlon training, especially my cycling, and in the process, I’ve made so many good friends and had so many adventures.
Strengthening the Ende Language Project with Sustainable Community Development
The Ende Language Project is a local initiative to write down and translate Ende, a language spoken in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. I was invited to join the team in 2015 to develop a writing system, begin a dictionary, and translate important texts. As a linguist, I brought my own questions and collected a wealth of information about one of the last undocumented languages. The trip was so successful that I am returning this summer to continue training the team and to gather data for my dissertation.
However, language does not exist in a vacuum and the community that speaks it struggles with daily survival. My previous trip addressed some needs, but the Community Engagement Grant would empower the Ende Language Project to combine our academic pursuits and community engagement in a life-saving, sustainable way. Lack of knowledge and means for proper handwashing puts the entire community in danger. For $4,000, the Ende Language Project can translate important hygiene information into Ende and set up six handwashing stations around the village. This initiative has been requested by the community, will involve local materials and workers to ensure sustainability, and has been shown to improve community health.
Expanding the Ende Oral Literature Collection
Dear George Appell and the Firebird Foundation Fellowship Committee,
I am excited to bring you more fantastic news regarding the Ende Oral Literature Collection, a project graciously funded by the Firebird Foundation in 2015. I have previously informed you about the overwhelming success of our 2015 trip in letters and with the materials that we sent to the Firebird Foundation Archive, also summarized below. The Ende people of Limol, Papua New Guinea were also very pleased with the project and have attached their signatures below in support of its continuation.
The present proposal seeks to expand last year’s goals, which were to record Ende traditional stories, establish an Ende orthography, and explore the range of Ende orature. This year, I’m bringing two more specialists to enhance my linguistic expertise. The first, Diana Johnson, is an illustrator, storyteller, nurse with Doctors Without Borders, experienced project coordinator, and an avid outdoorswoman, who plans to apply all her skills to writing and illustrating the first short books for the local elementary school and health post. Second, Elizabeth Conlan is a horticultural scientist with expertise in plant anatomy, physiology, and nutrition, international agriculture, and rural development. Her aim is to understand how storytelling and traditional knowledge can inform both our knowledge of the role of agricultural crops in the community and the natural sciences more broadly. Finally, I will be exploring a question of interest to my linguistics dissertation: does the act of writing down spoken language reveal a hyper-correct grammar? Ende is the perfect language for this study, as we can document the progression of the two diverging grammars (what can be said and what can be written), from the origins of writing itself.
Continued support from the Firebird Foundation ensures this project’s success and allows for a continuity of materials and focus. We foresee a long-term relationship with this community and we are grateful for your support.
Kate L. Lindsey
Diana L. Johnson
The Stanford Storytelling Project is an arts program at Stanford University that explores how we live in and through stories and, even more importantly, how to deepen our lives through our own storytelling. Our mission is to promote the transformative nature of traditional and modern oral storytelling, from Lakota tales to Radiolab, and empower students to create and perform their own stories. The project sponsors courses, workshops, live events, and grants. In 2012, we created a new radio show, State of the Human, where we share stories that deepen our understanding of single, common human experiences—fighting, giving, lying, resilience—all drawn from the experiences and research of the Stanford community.
Three Braden Storytelling Grants are given annually to research and create an audio documentary based on oral history archives or interviews.
I have been offered a Braden Storytelling Grant for my project, "Telling an Ende Story." This will benefit the fieldwork that I will do this summer on the Ende language in Papua New Guinea.
Kate Lynn Lindsey