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Michael E. Krauss (born August 15, 1934) is an American linguist, professor emeritus, founder and long-time head of the Alaska Native Language Center. As of February 2013, the Alaska Native Language Archive is named after him.

Michael Krauss
Photo of Michael Krauss
Residence Fairbanks, Alaska
Nationality American
Scientific career
Fields Linguistics

Krauss is known first and foremost as an Eyak language specialist, a language that became extinct in January 2008. However, he has worked on all of the 20 Native languages of Alaska, 18 of which belong to the Na-Dené and Eskimo–Aleut language families.

With his 1991 address to the Linguistic Society of America, Krauss focused awareness of the global problem of endangered languages. He has since worked to encourage the documentation and re-vitalization of endangered languages across the world.

Krauss joined the faculty of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1960 and served as director of the Alaska Native Language Center from its inception in 1972 until his retirement in June 2000. He remains active in efforts to document Alaska's Native languages and encouraged awareness of the global problem of endangered languages.

Contents

EducationEdit

Krauss received a B.A. from University of Chicago (1953); M.A. from Columbia University, (1955); Certificat d'Ètudes supÈrierures from University of Paris (1956); and Ph.D. in Linguistics and Celtic from Harvard University (1959). His dissertation was titled "Studies in Irish Gaelic Phonology & Orthography."

GaelicEdit

Krauss conducted fieldwork with Gaelic in Western Ireland (1956–1958)

NorseEdit

Krauss conducted fieldwork with Norse languages in Iceland and in the Faroe Islands (1958–1960).

Athabaskan Comparative LinguisticsEdit

After completing a dissertation on Gaelic languages Krauss arrived in Alaska in 1960 to teach French at the University of Alaska. But Krauss was clearly aware of and interested in the indigenous languages of Alaska prior to his arrival. In fact, while en route to Alaska he visited Harry Hoijer, the leading scholar of Athabaskan languages at the time. Arriving in Alaska he became immediately aware of the dire situation of the indigenous languages of Alaska and quickly turned his attention to documenting those languages, focusing initially on the (Lower) Tanana language. This turned out to be quite fortuitous for scholars of Athabaskan comparative linguistics, as Lower Tanana nicely demonstrated a split in the Proto-Athabaskan *ts- series which was not evidenced in Hoijer's data. Although Krauss immediately communicated this new information to Hoijer, it was not incorporated into Hoijer's major Athabaskan monograph, printed in 1963. The Minto data did appear in a series of IJAL articles by Krauss in the mid to late 1960s, but it was some time before the existence of an additional Proto-Athabaskan affricate series became widely known.

EyakEdit

Krauss' largest contribution to language documentation is his work on Eyak, which began in 1961.[1] Eyak was then already the most endangered of the Alaskan languages, and Krauss' work is all the more notable considering that it represents what today might be considered salvage linguistics. While some Eyak data had been previously available, they were overlooked by previous scholars, including Edward Sapir. However, Eyak proved to be a crucial missing link for historical linguistics, being equally closely related to neighboring Ahtna and to distant Navajo. With good Eyak data it became possible to establish the existence of the Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit language family, though phonological evidence for links to Haida remained elusive. Further, the system of vowel modifications present in Eyak inspired Krauss' theory of Athabaskan tonogenesis, whereby tone develops from vowel constriction.[2]

Endangered LanguagesEdit

Michael Krauss' lecture at the Linguistic Society of America conference in January 1991 is often cited as a turning point which refocused the field of linguistics on documentation and inspired a systematic global effort to document the world's linguistic diversity. In his lecture, titled "The world's languages in crisis," Dr. Krauss famously warned:[3].

"Obviously we must do some serious rethinking of our priorities, lest linguistics go down in history as the only science that presided obliviously over the disappearance of 90% of the very field to which it is dedicated."

Michael Krauss contends[when?] that in the United States, children are only learning 20% of the world's remaining languages.[4]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Badten, Adelinda W.; Krauss, Michael E.; & Rubtsova, Ekaterina S. (1971). Ungazighmiit ungipaghaatangit. College: University of Alaska.
  • Friedrich, Paul; & Krauss, Michael E. (1969). On the meaning of the Tarascan suffixes of space. Baltimore, Waverly Press.
  • Gudgel-Holmes, Dianne; Joseph, Abbie; Jones, Eliza; Kari, James M.; & Krauss, Michael E. (1991). Native place names of the Kantishna drainage. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office.
  • Hale, Ken; Krauss, Michael; Watahomigie, Lucille J.; Yamamoto, Akira Y.; Craig, Colette; Jeanne, LaVerne M.; England, Nora C; et al. (1992). "Endangered languages". Language. 68 (1): 1–42. doi:10.2307/416368. JSTOR 416368. 
  • Harry, Annan N.; & Krauss, Michael E. (1982). In honor of Eyak: The art of Annan Nelson Harry. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (n.d.). Na-Dene. College, AK: University of Alaska and M.I.T.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1964). "The proto-Athapaskan–Eyak and the problem of Na-Dene, I: The phonology". International Journal of American Linguistics. 30 (2): 118–131. doi:10.1086/464766. 
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1965). "The proto-Athapaskan–Eyak and the problem of Na-Dene, II: The morphology". International Journal of American Linguistics. 31 (1): 18–28. doi:10.1086/464810. 
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1968). "Noun classifiers in the Athapaskan, Eyak, Tlingit, and Haida verb". International Journal of American Linguistics. 34 (3): 194–203. doi:10.1086/465014. 
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1969). On the classification in the Athapascan, Eyak, and the Tlingit verb. Baltimore: Waverly Press, Indiana University.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1970). Eskimo–Aleut. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1970). Eyak dictionary. College, AK: University of Alaska.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1970). Eyak texts. College, AK: University of Alaska and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1973). Na-Dene. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Linguistics in North America (pp. 903–978). The Hague: Mouton. (Reprinted as Krauss 1976).
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1974). Native peoples and language of Alaska. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, Center for Northern Educational Research, University of Alaska.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1975). "St. Lawrence Island Eskimo phonology and orthography". Linguistics 13 [=152] : 39-72.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1975). Native peoples and languages of Alaska. [Map]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1976). Na-Dene. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Native languages of the America (pp. 283–358). New York: Plenum. (Reprint of Krauss 1973).
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1979). Na-Dene and Eskimo. In L. Campbell & M. Mithun (Eds.), The languages of native America: Historical and comparative assessment. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1980). Alaska native languages: Past, present, and future. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1980). On the history and use comparative Athapaskan linguistics. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska, Native Language Center.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1982). Native peoples and languages of Alaska. [Map]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1985). Yupik Eskimo prosodic systems: Descriptive and comparative studies. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1986). Edward Sapir and Athabaskan linguistics. In W. Cowan, M. Foster, & K. Koerner (Eds.), New perspectives in language, culture, and personality (pp. 147–190). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1992). The World's Languages in Crisis. Language 68(1).4-10.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (1995). Inuit, Nunait, Nunangit, Yuget, Unangan Tanangin. [Map]. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • Krauss, Michael E. (2005). Athabaskan Tone. In: Keren Rice and Sharon Hargus, eds, Athabaskan Prosody, ed. by Keren Rice & Sharon Hargus. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ISBN 90-272-4783-8
  • Krauss, Michael E.; & Leer, Jeff. (1981). Athabaskan, Eyak, and Tlingit sonorants. Alaska Native Language Center research papers (No. 5). Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska, Alaska Native Language Center.
  • Krauss, Michael E.; & McGary, Mary J. (1980). Alaska native languages: A bibliographical catalogue. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Krauss, Michael E. (2006). "A history of Eyak language documentation and study: Fredericæ de Laguna in memoriam". Arctic Anthropology. 43 (2): 172–218. doi:10.1353/arc.2011.0095. 
  2. ^ Krauss, Michael E. 2005. Athabaskan Tone. Athabaskan Prosody, ed. by K. Rice and S. Hargus. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  3. ^ Krauss, Michael E. (1992). "The world's languages in crisis". Language. 68 (1): 4–10. doi:10.1353/lan.1992.0075. 
  4. ^ "An Introduction to Language", by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman and Nina Hyams, seventh edition, 525

External linksEdit

  • short bio at YDLI
  • Krauss, Michael E. (July 20, 2000). "Statement of Michael Krauss." In: Native American languages act amendments act of 2000: Hearing ... on S. 2688. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office (GPO). p. 29-33. Available as a PDF file via GPO