The Alutiiq Museum just announced its volunteer of the year, Julia Fine, a former museum intern from Massachusetts with a love for language. The Stanford graduate first came to Kodiak in 2013 to focus on language instruction and, since then, has returned multiple times.
As befitting a volunteer of the year, Fine has jumped into the Alutiiq language revitalization scene and participated in local projects. That includes recording Alutiiq language speakers for the museum’s electronic books and editing the audio so that learners can click and listen to specific words.
Fine says she has a particular interest in rare or more localized languages.
“Within linguistics people are beginning to recognize that there’s a need to look at languages that might not be as widely spoken and not as well documented just so that as a science we’re able to draw better conclusions from a wider, more diverse array of languages. Because if we’re basing everything off of European languages, there’s huge splays of information we’re gonna be missing.”
Fine is working towards her PhD in linguistics at the University of California Santa Barbara and, in addition to continuing her interest in Alutiiq, is now tackling tones in the process of learning an indigenous Japonic language.