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Collaborative Linguistic Fieldwork: Practical Application of the Empowerment Model

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Title: Collaborative Linguistic Fieldwork: Practical Application of the Empowerment Model
Authors: Yamada, Racquel-Maria
Keywords: Kari’nja
empowerment model
collaborative linguistic fieldwork
Issue Date: 17 Dec 2007
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Yamada, Racquel-Maria. 2007. Collaborative linguistic fieldwork: Practical application of the empowerment model. Language Documentation & Conservation 1(2): 257–282.
Abstract: Academic linguists working to document and describe minoritized and endangered languages share with speech community members a devotion to the language of study. For the academic, language provides a window into cognition and the capacity of the human mind. For the speech community member, language represents cultural heritage and, for many, a tie to place and a sense of identity. Both parties have a vested interest in the documentation, description, and preservation of lesser-spoken languages as a way to perpetuate global linguistic and cultural diversity and maintain ties to heritage. Many who conduct linguistic fieldwork with endangered languages have noted that the needs and desires of the speech community are often subordinated in favor of those of the academic linguist. Some academics fear that time spent meeting community needs diminishes the field-worker’s academic productivity. This paper describes several collaborative, community-based projects that address the needs of both academics and the speech community, using case-study examples from the author’s own fieldwork with a Kari’nja community in Suriname. In discussing each project, emphasis is given to practical methods of meeting needs of both the academic and speech communities, and to how this ensures more balanced participation of each in the linguistic fieldwork endeavor.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
ISSN: 1934-5275
Appears in Collections:Volume 01 Issue 2 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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