Lenca are Indigenous people located in the ‘Mesoamerican’ region neighboring the Maya to the East in several Central American countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the language is considered dormant because there are not native/fluent speakers.
However, there is a growing desire for language revitalization of Lenca de El Salvador. Linguist Alan king produced some books on a linguistic introduction of Lenca and phrases. From his book called “Frases Útiles de Sai i Putum: Lenca de El Salvador,” I audio recorded all the phrases in that book and made this small video so people can hear what it sounds like. Hopefully it can be useful in learning Lenca. The description box in YouTube has links to where you can find the book I used as well as other works on Nawat, Lenca de El Salvador, and Lenca de Honduras.
Significantly, the essentializing of a link between Aboriginal language and Aboriginal land, though of great strategic value in the struggle for language preservation, risks excluding certain Aboriginal groups from the language endangerment discourse. Among these are members of urbanized Aboriginal communities, created as a result of significant levels of migration of Aboriginal peoples to cities. While such migration has tended not to involve a complete de-territorialization of people from their Aboriginal homeland ‘territories’, given considerable movement back and forth between these territories and cities, it has nevertheless sparked the construction of new identities and new cultural and linguistic practices that are shaping new forms of community. Thus, new forms of place-making - not necessarily linked to dominant interests in traditional, territorialized 'nationhood’ - are creating new forms of 'locality’ and 'community’ in which First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada can thrive. This makes the question of what Aboriginal language is being saved for whom a pressing one, which indicates the need to create a more inclusive and radicalized discourse of language endangerment, consistent not only with the need for political reconciliation and restitution, but with increasing diversity within Aboriginal groups.
Donna Patrick, “Indigenous language endangerment and the unfinished business of nation states”
I think this is an important message to all of us who are working on revitalising our languages. We are many who are devoting a lot of time to our languages, and the way we look at our language is important, not just for me who’s studying my language on a full-time basis. Categorising Lule Saami [or other Saami languages] as threatened or on the brink of extinction leads to a point where I won’t be using the language as much as I could have been doing in different situations.
Instead I want to have confidence in the future, and be full of hope that I’ll be able to speak more Saami than Swedish where I live. The most natural thing ought to be to use Saami as your go-to language in all situations, and then switch to another language only if it turns out that someone doesn’t understand you, instead of always assuming that nobody will understand you, because you speak a dying language.