Volume 05 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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Language Documentation & Conservation is a fully refereed, open-access journal sponsored by the National Foreign Language Resource Center and published exclusively in electronic form by the University of Hawai’i Press.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
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    To BOLDly Go Where No One Has Gone Before
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-12) Boerger, Brenda
    In this article, I report on a survey designed as the first step in testing claims made regarding the potential of Basic Oral Language Documentation (BOLD) for addressing the urgency of the documentation task. BOLD was developed in response to a number of language documentation challenges, its aim being to design a time-effective way to obtain a core data corpus, thereby allowing for more endangered languages to be documented faster. After providing background about BOLD and its claims, I report on its use in six field projects which had varying durations and goals. These preliminary results confirm BOLD’s overall soundness, while suggesting minor adjustments in design and protocols. I invite the language documentation community to participate in BOLD in three ways: (1) make BOLD corpora of undocumented languages a funding priority, (2) use it and require it of students, and (3) help refine BOLD best practices. Since the current rate of new documentations is not keeping pace with language loss, it is only by adopting this or a similar strategy that speech practices of communities around the world can be documented before it is too late.
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    Biology in Language Documentation
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-12) Si, Aung
    The fields of ethnobiology and language documentation have much to offer each other, but for the moment, there are few signs of engagement between practitioners of the two disciplines. In this paper, I argue that projects that seek to document endangered languages can benefit by focusing on the semantic domain of traditional biological and ecological knowledge (TEK), and by engaging in collaborative projects with ethnobiologists. In doing so, researchers not only produce a rich corpus that is culturally relevant and valuable to the language community, but also record information about the natural world that may be of interest to researchers in other fields. The TEK encoded in a language is best and most easily observed in the specialized vocabulary that speakers may employ when talking about various natural phenomena. However, a community’s knowledge of their biological environment extends far beyond the lexicon and into the domain of complex ecological relationships among different organisms. Using examples from my fieldwork in southern India, I argue that it is possible to capture such knowledge in a language documentation program. Other criteria for a good documentation, such as the inclusion of a wide range of speech genres, can also be met while eliciting TEK from language consultants.
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    Documentary Linguistics and Community Relations
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-12) Rice, Keren
    In recent years, there has been a growing focus in linguistics on community-based research. In this paper, I summarize how community-based research is defined, and then address community-based research from two perspectives. I begin with a perspective that is sometimes heard in universities, and sometimes by colleagues in linguistics as well: that community-based research is not really research, but rather community service. I discuss some of the fallacies in this conclusion, examining how traditional types of linguistic research can grow out of community-based work as well as addressing the types of new research topics that might emerge from this type of paradigm. I then switch the focus and ask what community-based research might mean from the perspective of a community, and who controls the research.
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    "Unknown Unknowns" and the Retrieval Problem in Language Documentation and Archiving.
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-12) Holton, Gary
    One of the major motivations driving the field of documentary linguistics is the need to create a lasting record of language that can be (re)used by both speakers and linguists. However, the mere act of language documentation does not guarantee that the products of documentation are accessible. This retrieval problem can result in a false belief that a language has been adequately documented—what I refer to as an unknown unknown. This paper illustrates unknown unknowns with examples drawn from the field of place names documentation, touching briefly on unknown unknowns in other areas of language documentation. The paper concludes with some suggestions as to how to mitigate against the retrieval problem.
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    Puana ‘Ia me ka ‘Oko‘a: A Comparative Analysis of Hawaiian Language Pronunciation as Spoken and Sung
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-09) Donaghy, Joseph Keola
    In this paper I argue that the differences between spoken Hawaiian and vocal performance of western-influenced “traditional” Hawaiian music are representative of the linguistic diversity found within the Hawaiian language. It contains a comparative analysis of Hawaiian Language Pronunciation as Spoken and Sung, using transcriptions of recorded examples by John Kameaaloha Almeida, a native speaker of the Hawaiian language and a prominent composer, singer, and instrumentalist. It will provide a phonemic analysis of notable and predictable variations heard in Hawaiian language vocal performances that are not heard in spoken Hawaiian. Further, it will show that rhythmic arrangement of morae over strong beats in the musical measure is largely analogous to accent in spoken Hawaiian, with some predictable exceptions. The paper also documents how, during his vocal performance, Almeida added three non-lexical vocables not heard in spoken Hawaiian. I argue that these characteristics and variation are indicative of the linguistic diversity found within the Hawaiian language and, as such, are worthy of the same attention and scholarly scrutiny as spoken Hawaiian. The second goal of this applied research is to present the results in a manner that is accessible to practitioners of Hawaiian language performance.
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    Review of ANVIL: Annotation of Video and Language Data 5.0
    ( 2011-09-26) Tan, Ning ; Martin, Jean-Claude
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    ‘Auto-documentación Lingüística’: La experiencia de una comunidad Jodï en la Guayana Venezolana
    ( 2011-09-23) Quatra, Miguel Marcello
    This article describes a self-directed project of linguistic documentation that was carried out over a five-year period in an indigenous Jodï community of the Venezuelan Guayana. The project was somewhat unique in that members of the local community were themselves responsible for producing documentary materials of their own language. The main results of this work include the compilation of the first Jodï-Spanish bilingual dictionary and the creation of an ethno-historical and cultural multimedia archive, with 79 hours of audio and video recordings stored at the local community. Reflecting on this experience, the author argues that more emphasis and support needs to be given to language ‘self-documentation’, in which the speech community acts as both principal investigator/compiler and user. A local community-centered approach offers an alternative that addresses certain unresolved issues in the practice of language documentation. Furthermore, it would make this activity more relevant to the larger issues of supporting the diversity of life on earth and enhancing the quality of life for human populations at the local and global levels.
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    Review of WordSmith Tools
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-09) Prinsloo, D.J. ; Prinsloo, Daniel
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    Review of JVC GY-HM100U HD video camera and FFmpeg libraries
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011-09) Hammond, Jeremy
The copyright for all articles published by Language Documentation & Conservation are held by their respective authors. All works are made available through a Creative Commons license.