Technology is at least partially responsible for helping to stimulate this renewed interest, she said, with more and more language archives going online and becoming available to interested parties virtually wherever they may be.
The Breath of Life work is aimed at revitalization, whereas the student research is aimed at documentation of still-healthy, if endangered, languages, said Sharon Inkelas, chair of UC Berkeley's linguistics department and professor of linguistics. The June 8-14 conference and the faculty and student fieldwork represent often complementary research at different stages of the lifespan of a language, she said.
"The school is great for language learning, but if a community really wants its language to be alive, it has to be using it at home," Hinton said. "The tribes are making progress, and there are people who are teaching it to kids at home."
Home instruction helps children to bond emotionally with their language, according to Hinton, whereas classroom learning reflects a more intellectual and dry approach.