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Engaging in collaborative corpora development for language and music

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Title: Engaging in collaborative corpora development for language and music
Issue Date: 01 Mar 2013
Description: Vancouver Island is home to seven of the most severely endangered languages on the planet. While it is clear that there is an urgent need to document and revitalize these languages, some community members have also expressed a desire to engage with some of the earliest recorded materials, to make them accessible to the community both physically and intellectually. This paper discusses how three communities, with different resources and goals, are approaching the issue of documentation and corpus development for language and music.

In terms of musical documentation, Ida Halpern was instrumental in recording much Kwakwaka’wakw musical heritage, starting in 1939 (Coleman, Coombe, and MacArailt, 2009). The notes and analysis that accompany the published recordings are important but are written primarily for those well-versed in musical analysis. This project develops a corpus of these recordings along with a re-analysis of the musical patterns in terms that are meaningful and useful for the community.

Extensive searches of the BC Archives have revealed only one recording of a traditional Klahoose song and very little early recorded language. The focus of the work with this community is in creating new documentation, both in terms of creating new songs and also documenting traditional food preparation on video. We are at the initial stages in this project in terms of writing songs and working with raw footage of traditional barbecued salmon.

The third community project is with the Hul’q’umi’num’ Treaty Group, who have many examples of Hul’q’umi’num’ speeches that have not been transcribed or translated. We are at the initial stage of selecting an appropriate speech that will serve as a pilot project, to work out research agreements, details of how to transcribe and code the speeches and determine how best to disseminate the work in order to be of greatest benefit to both the Hul’q’umi’num’ and research communities, while also protecting their intangible property rights.

In all these pilot projects, there is a collaboration and consultation with the university researcher and the community members at each juncture. This ensures that the goals of both are being met at each stage. By working on three pilot projects with three different types of documentation, we hope to learn about best practices for collaborative research and to develop corpora that are meaningful and useful to communities.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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