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CERCLL Research Grants: Awardees


The Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL) is pleased to announce the CERCLL Research Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to promote scholarly work connected to the mission of CERCLL as a Title VI National Language Resource Center, namely to research and develop the teaching of culture, language and literacy, especially within less commonly taught languages (LCTLs).

Each recipient will record a webinar; they will be posted on this page as they become available.

These grants are supported by the University of Arizona's Vice President for Research. The University of Arizona Research, Discovery & Innovation office provides researchers with the tools and resources that they need to be creative and to ask the important questions that lead to the important answers. They do so by enabling the research success of faculty through supporting university research centers, institutes, museums and core facilities; providing research development, compliance and safety services; and securing strategic external partnerships.

2016 Awardees

Kamchatka, Russia: Strengthening Indigenous Youth Learning through the Use of Cultural Heritage and Language Learning Technologies

Benedict J. Colombi, American Indian Studies


Kamchatka youth lack interest and involvement in cultural heritage, language and history, likely due to the fact that few living native speakers exist in the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. Concurrently, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, an absence of public citizenship involvement and civic engagement exists toward cultural heritage, language training, language documentation and language preservation. This project will therefore facilitate the collection of additional data and disseminate knowledge of ongoing and sustained efforts of Indigenous language revitalization and education in Kamchatka, Russia. It will: (1) systematically record and document indigenous elder interactions with linguistically affiliated, ethnographic collections in September, 2016 at two world-renowned museums in Saint Petersburg, Russia; and, (2) publish copies and disseminate PI Colombi’s co-authored book and DVD, Remembering Lesnaya: Koryak (Nymylyn) Language, Culture, and History, to educators and Indigenous school-aged children with K-12 schools along Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula.


A Sociolinguistic Inquiry of American Study Abroad Students in China

Wenhao Diao, Department of East Asian Studies


This project aims to investigate and document the authentic language use among American study abroad students in China. Research has shown that study abroad students often lack the opportunities or the sociolinguistic competence to interact with the local people when abroad. This project draws upon the language socialization theory to examine how American study abroad students use language to construct and normalize cultural identities when they interact with their Chinese peers and/or host families – especially the identity of place. With many regional linguistic varieties and accents, China is sociolinguistically very diverse. This project compares and contrasts students’ study abroad experience in two Chinese cities: Beijing (a traditionally Mandarin-speaking city) and Shanghai (a non-Mandarin speaking city). By including their everyday language use in both the school (the dorm) and the home (homestays) settings, the data will yield implications for future projects regarding the incorporation of sociolinguistic complexities in foreign language teaching.


Repatriation and Tribesourcing of Yaqui Easter Films from 1972

Jennifer L. Jenkins, Department of English


This collaboration between the University of Arizona, Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Culture Center is an inclusive language and cultural preservation initiative: repurposing two films from 1972 about the Yaqui people’s sacred Easter ceremonies. Made by National Geographic, these films now have value to the Yaqui people as documents of people, landscape, and cultural practices in a moment-in-time 40 years ago. The project created new digital scans and newly recorded Yaqui narrations for the films in Yaqui, Spanish, and English. By recording Yaqui tri-lingual narrations and collecting culturally competent metadata through community-based “tribesourcing,” the project is restoring the Yaqui voice and sensibility to these moving images in the three languages of the people. The work will be completed in spring, 2017.

The Yaqui language is a less-commonly-taught-language (LCTL) of the Uto-Aztecan group.

The project was conducted by Jennifer L. Jenkins, Curator, American Indian Film Gallery, and Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Arizona; Guillermo Quiroga, Director, Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Culture Center; and Hanni Nabahe, Knowledge River Cohort 13.


Experiences and Pedagogical Possibilities of Indigenous Language Brokering

Leisy Wyman, Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies

In many contexts, Indigenous community members use language brokering, including interpretation and translating, to negotiate relationships, as well as institutional, political and economic contact zones. Studies and pedagogical efforts that recognize Indigenous language brokering, however, are rare. This summer, I plan to work with two Yup’ik consultants who were youth interpreters and are now experienced language educators and experts in the Yup’ik region of Alaska. Specifically, I will 1) interview six former youth interpreters about historical and contemporary forms of language brokering, and 2) conduct a focus group to share initial findings, and generate ideas for curricula and additional research focused on Indigenous language brokering. Project results will include presentations, publications and a webinar focused on language brokering and implications for language education Indigenous communities; a sample curricula focused on Indigenous language brokering; and two grant proposals for externally-funded research in Alaskan and Latin American contexts. As one of the first studies of Indigenous language brokering, the proposed study will offer key insights to research on immigrant and Indigenous bi/multilingualism, and critical language pedagogies in endangered language contexts.