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When is a linguist not a linguist: the multifarious activities and expectations for a linguist in an Australian language centre

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Title: When is a linguist not a linguist: the multifarious activities and expectations for a linguist in an Australian language centre
Authors: Truscott, Adriano
Keywords: Australian Indigenous language centre
Aboriginal languages
Australian languages
Issue Date: Oct 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Truscott, Adriano. 2014. When is a linguist not a linguist: the multifarious activities and expectations for a linguist in an Australian language centre. Language Documentation & Conservation 8. 384-408.
Abstract: The role of linguists employed in Aboriginal community language centres requires three considerations to be addressed by the language centres themselves, by the linguists and by the organisations that prepare them: what is required of the linguist by language centres; to what extent does the linguist's own skills, interests and ideology match what is required by their position; and how the linguist’s capabilities can best be matched to the requirements of the language centre. These three considerations are complex, in part specific to each language centre, and can involve skills that are not immediately oriented to, or transferable from, academic knowledge and skills. The sensitive and urgent nature of language revitalisation means that high expectations are often placed on the linguist by the language centre, which can lead to disappointment for all parties in various ways, and could even compromise the effectiveness of the language revitalisation. This paper attempts to critically address these three dimensions in relation to a Western Australian language centre, focussing on a case study of a community-based languages exhibition that took place in 2008. It describes the context of the language centre and then considers the role of the linguist operating within a sociolinguistically-oriented theoretical and methodological framework to revitalize languages, identifying different conceptualisations of the role. The case study explores the range of requirements made of the linguist during the languages exhibition project, and presents some reflections on the role in that context. *This paper is in the series The Role of Linguists in Indigenous Community Language Programs in Australia, edited by John Henderson.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
Pages/Duration: 25
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/4615
ISSN: 1934-5275
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:Volume 08 : Language Documentation & Conservation



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