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Sharing linguistic tools with native speakers through the Language Documentation Training Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

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Title: Sharing linguistic tools with native speakers through the Language Documentation Training Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Issue Date: 28 Feb 2013
Description: The Language Documentation Training Center (LDTC) is a program initiated and run by graduate students in the department of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, to contribute to the worldwide effort to document endangered languages. Since its inception in 2004, LDTC has been entirely run by graduate students with minimal input from faculty. Students work together to design the curriculum, recruit community members, teach linguistic tools to participants and engage the community through other activities. In this presentation, we will describe the program, its mission and successful outcomes.

After 8 years running, LDTC has shared linguistic knowledge and tools with speakers from over 80 languages and dialects around the world, from the Pacific Rim all the way to New Mexico and France. From the beginning, the main goals of LDTC have been to offer native speakers a public domain for making information about their languages and culture accessible, to train native speakers so that they can document their own language, and to encourage them to be active language advocates in their home communities. We will explain the skills participants acquire in the series of workshops that we conduct every semester. In addition, we will also highlight successes of our participants in their efforts to document their language, and give examples of culturally rich final projects.

Each participant is paired up with a graduate student who acts as a mentor, guiding the participant through the workshops. Working together, they design a website that displays information about the participant's language as well as culturally significant recordings. At the end of the semester, these projects are presented to the community, uploaded to the Languages page of LDTC’s website and archived.

Furthermore, in a relatively short period of time, the LDTC program has been recognized campus and nation-wide for its contributions to documenting indigenous languages of the world. In the end, we hope that this community-based workshop method can be applied in other locations, and that our presentation will inspire others to create similar workshops.

LDTC’s website:
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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