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UCR Education Professor Gets Grant to Study Endangered Language

UC Riverside Education Professor to Help Revitalize Endangered Language

The National Academy of Education awards a $55,000 grant.

(May 17, 2005)

Begoña Echeverria

Begoña Echeverria

UC Riverside Assistant Professor of Education Begoña Echeverria is a recipient of the $55,000 National Academy of Education’s (NAE) Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Echeverria was one of 20 candidates who were chosen from among 200 applicants to receive the international award, which is given to researchers who are just starting their careers.

Her research examines how educational institutions affect the language practices and ideologies of ethnic and linguistic minorities. She focuses on Basque, but also addresses these issues as they pertain to minority students in the United States.

The NAE grant will allow her to examine how gender ideologies and employment experiences impact language use in the Basque Country and its immigrant communities in California. Basque is a minority language in southwestern France and northern Spain, as well as in immigrant communities around the world, including those in California, Idaho and Nevada.

“It is important to study languages that are in danger of extinction because with each language that is lost, we lose an important part of that culture,” said Echeverria. “Basque is an endangered language unrelated to any other language in the world, and it was my good fortune to have immigrant parents who taught it to me. It is intellectually gratifying to be conducting research that might contribute to its survival.”

Echeverria and two other Basque-American women have recorded songs in Euskera (the Basque language) about the language, culture and gender.

Echeverria came to UC Riverside in 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from UC San Diego. She received a Regents’ Faculty Fellowship in 2003 and an Academic Senate Research Award in 2004.

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