Volume 09 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
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    Review of Endangered languages and new technologies
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-12) Hieber, Daniel W.
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    Southern Ute Grassroots Language Revitalization
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-12) Oberly, Stacey ; White, Dedra ; Millich, Arlene ; Cloud, Mary Inez ; Seibel, Lillian ; Ivey, Crystal ; Cloud, Lorelei
    Southern Ute is a severely endangered Uto-Aztecan language spoken in southwestern Colorado by forty speakers out of a tribe of around 1,400. In 2011, a small group of adult tribal members with a strong desire to learn Ute as a second language began a collaborative, community-based, grassroots language revitalization and repatriation project on the Southern Ute reservation. This case study provides insight into language endangerment and revitalization, language ideologies, linguistic identity, revitalization pedagogy, and language as power. During this project the group encountered challenges typical of endangered language revitalization such as lack of teaching material, the contradictory role of writing in gaining fluency in an endangered language, the transition of a speaker to a teacher, and differing views of effective language learning methods. A total of eighty-nine community members ranging in age from two to eighty-seven years participated in this project. The diversity of students created a pedagogical situation in which the range of objectives, learning styles, and interest levels required adaptation and flexibility. We discuss possible solutions to these challenges. We also provide insight into the tenacity of heritage language learners who continue to fight for linguistic self-determination and justice, even when faced with opposition from their tribal government and community.
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    Getting in Touch: Language and Digital Inclusion in Australian Indigenous Communities
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-12) Carew, Margaret ; Green, Jennifer ; Kral, Inge ; Nordlinger, Rachel ; Singer, Ruth
    Indigenous people in remote Australia face many dilemmas in relation to the status and vitality of their languages and communication ecologies. Cultural leaders want to maintain endangered heritage languages, yet this concern is balanced against an awareness that English competency is a necessary life skill. Remote Indigenous groups must also negotiate the effect of globalized media on language and cultural practices. While public policy seeks to bridge the digital divide in remote Australia, little attention has been paid to the dominance of English in the new digital environment and the potential impact that increased English language activities may have on endangered Indigenous languages. In this paper we discuss the Getting in Touch project, a joint initiative between linguists, Australian Indigenous language speakers, and software developers. Using a participatory, collaborative process, the project aims to develop ideas for digital resources that privilege Indigenous languages and knowledge systems. We argue that taking Indigenous languages into account in app design may help enhance digital literacies in remote Indigenous communities and promote digital inclusion.
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    Language Research and Revitalization Through a Community-University Partnership: The Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-12) Little, Carol-Rose ; Wysote, Travis ; McClay, Elise ; Coon, Jessica
    This paper discusses a collaboration between a university linguistics department and an Indigenous community, with the joint aim to increase the vitality of, and knowledge about, Mi’gmaq (Eastern Algonquian). It describes the history of the language in the community and how the partnership was initially formed. It discusses several joint initiatives: the development of digital language-learning resources, a class curriculum, and the hosting of an intergenerational open language workshop in the community. The authors share the models of work and lessons that have influenced them as this partnership has grown.
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    A guide to the Ikaan language and culture documentation
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-09) Salffner, Sophie
    Language documentation collections contain valuable and unique resources on the languages and cultures of the people represented in the collection. To allow users to understand and use one particular collection, this article provides a guide to the language documentation project “Farming, food and yam: language and cultural practices among Ikaan speakers,” deposited in the Endangered Languages Archive. It gives a bird’s eye view of the collection, showing the project background, the conventions and workflows, and the structure and content of the resources. In addition, it provides a glimpse behind the scene, outlining motivations, observations, thoughts on the collection, and future plans. This article thus contextualizes the collection by placing it in its wider research and community context.
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    Review of Repertoires and Choices in African Languages
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-09) Childs, G. Tucker
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    Final Records of the Sambe Language of Central Nigeria: Phonology, noun morphology, and wordlist
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-09) Blench, Roger
    This paper presents all the available data on the Sambe language [xab], formerly spoken in a remote area of Central Nigeria. Two field trips were made, in 2001 and 2005, and a substantial wordlist was collected. By 2005, the two remaining informants were very old and it is presumed Sambe is no longer spoken. The speakers still retain their ethnic identity but today speak a dialect of Ninzo. Sambe is part of the little-known Alumic group of languages and its closest relative is Hasha. Alumic in turn is one subgroup of Plateau, itself a branch of Benue-Congo and thus part of Niger-Congo. Sambe has an extremely rich phonological inventory. Fossil prefixes show that it had a system of nominal affixing until recently, but this had become unproductive by the time the language was recorded.
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    Assessing the Linguistic Vitality of Miqie: An Endangered Ngwi (Loloish) Language of Yunnan, China
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-09) Gao, Katie B
    Language shift is the process by which a speech community in a contact situation gradually abandons one language in favor of another. Because the causal factors of language shift are largely social (Fishman 1991), languages, groups, and communities with diverse social situations can be expected to exhibit varying levels of language shift. This paper reports on the linguistic vitality of Miqie [ISO 639-3:yiq], an endangered Central Ngwi/Yi language of Yunnan, China, and identifies the social factors contributing to language shift. Findings from participant interviews in 11 village survey points show there are varying degrees of language endangerment, with intermarriage and access to a major road as primary indicators of shift. This paper evaluates different tools for assessing linguistic vitality and uses the Language Endangerment Index (Lee & Van Way in press) to assess Miqie language endangerment at the village level. Language shift information is essential in the description and documentation of a language, especially because the contexts in which the language is spoken may disappear faster than the language itself.
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    Review of the Marshallese-English Online Dictionary
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-06) Bickford, J. Albert
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    Designing a Dictionary for an Endangered Language Community: Lexicographical Deliberations, Language Ideological Clarifications
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2015-06) Kroskrity, Paul V.
    Dictionaries of endangered languages represent especially important products of language documentation, in part because they are usually the most familiar and useful genre of linguistic representation to endangered language community members. This familiarity, however, can become problematic when it is accompanied by language ideologies that equate dictionaries with word lists (‘words for things’), prescriptive linguistics, and researchers’ neoliberal assumptions regarding the circulation of knowledge. Recent and ongoing research in the Village of Tewa (N. Arizona, Kiowa-Tanoan language family) designed to produce a practical dictionary in support of the community’s language renewal efforts provides some examples of the need to contextualize the project within the community and to understand the pervasive role of language ideologies when working collaboratively. This research project aims to promote and fortify lexical documentation so that the practical dictionary is an adequate guide for future community members, while still conforming to cultural protocols about lexical representation and circulation, both within and outside the language community.