Volume 11 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
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    Notes from the field: Another moribund language of Indonesia, with supporting audio
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-12) Lobel, Jason William ; Paputungan, Ade Tatak
    This paper consists of a short multimedia introduction to Lolak, a near-extinct Greater Central Philippine language traditionally spoken in three small communities on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. In addition to being one of the most underdocumented languages in the area, it is also spoken by one of the smallest native speaker populations in northern Sulawesi. Included in this overview are over 500 recordings of words and phrases pronounced by one of the oldest and most fluent speakers of the language, illustrating its phoneme system, grammatical subsets, and system of verbal affixation.
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    Mapping Dialectal Variation Using the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-12) Cenerini, Chantale ; Junker, Marie-Odile ; Rosen, Nicole
    The Algonquian Linguistic Atlas (www.atlas-ling.ca) is an online multimedia linguistic atlas of Algonquian languages in Canada, built based on a template of conversational topics. It includes Algonquian languages primarily from the Cree-Innu-Naskapi continuum, but also from Blackfoot, Mi’kmaw, and Ojibwe (including Algonquin), with other languages in progress. In this paper we discuss how the data collected for the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas was used to conduct a bottom-up study of dialectal boundaries in Cree-Innu-Naskapi and their degree of relatedness to neighboring Algonquian languages. By studying the coincidence of phonological, lexical, grammatical, syntactic, and semantic isoglosses drawn from the Atlas data, we hope to show the research potential coming out of tools developed for pedagogical purposes. This research can in turn further guide the development of new terminology and more pedagogical resources, as well as lead to better understanding of dialectal differences and similarities across the language family.
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    Review of Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: An Ecological Perspective
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-12) Diettrich, Brian
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    Building Tone Resources for Second Language Learners from Phonetic Documentation: Cherokee Examples
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-11) Hirata-Edds, Tracy ; Herrick, Dylan
    Lexical tone is a linguistic feature which can present difficulties for second language learners wanting to revitalize their heritage language. This is true not only from the standpoint of understanding and pronunciation, but also because tone is often under-documented and resources are limited or too technical to be useful to community members. Even with these challenges, carefully attending to the intricacies of a language’s sound system allows learners to express themselves more “authentically” or “naturally,” which can be important for confidence and acceptance as language users. Learners can be trained to distinguish tones by attending to acoustic or auditory cues related to tone (e.g., pitch contour). This paper describes multimedia resources designed to focus learner attention on perceiving tone -- visual and audio accompaniments helping to increase the perception of tone in Cherokee, a severely endangered Native American language. We created resources for tone in the form of an electronic presentation containing explanations, example recordings, and intuitive images to provide audio and visual support for language learners. Presentation and format choices were collaboratively designed based on community requests, with an explicit attempt to de-jargonize materials and make them less technical and more accessible to community members.
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    Liinnaqumalghiit: A web-based tool for addressing orthographic transparency in St. Lawrence Island/Central Siberian Yupik
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-09) Schwartz, Lane ; Chen, Emily
    We present an initial web-based tool for St. Lawrence Island/Central Siberian Yupik, an endangered language of Alaska and Russia. This work is supported by the local language community on St. Lawrence Island, and includes an orthographic utility to convert from standard Latin orthography into a fully transparent representation, a preliminary spell checker, a Latin-to-Cyrillic transliteration tool, and a preliminary Cyrillic-to-Latin transliteration tool. Also included is a utility to convert from standard Latin orthography into both IPA and Americanist phonetic notation. Our utility is also capable of explicitly marking syllable boundaries and stress in the standard Latin orthography using the conventions of Jacobson (2001), as well as in Cyrillic and in standard IPA notation. These tools are designed to facilitate the digitization of existing Yupik resources, facilitate additional linguistic field work, and most importantly, bolster efforts by the local Yupik communities in the U.S. and in Russia to promote Yupik usage and literacy, especially among Yupik youth.
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    Losing a Vital Voice: Grief and Language Work
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-08) Sapién, Racquel-María ; Thornes, Tim
    Working with speakers of endangered languages often involves developing a deep rapport with the eldest members of a community. These relationships present unique challenges that include navigating great losses – not only of the language of study, but, more profoundly, the attendant death of its speakers. This essay is motivated by the recognition that the death of close consultants is inherent in work with endangered languages. It draws on case study examples to examine the emotional components of language work, specifically grief and loss, from both personal and professional perspectives. Our focus is on two key issues. The first is as a methodological issue that arises for those operating under a collaborative model of language work where investment by the community and participatory research by the fieldworker is the norm. The second is as a training issue involving our responsibilities to those we mentor in understanding the reality of close work with speakers, particularly of endangered languages. This reality includes careful consideration of their families and communities. Our hope is that this essay may serve as a foundation upon which a more thorough consideration of methodological issues and preparation through honest and open approaches to training can be constructed.
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    Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara) language description and documentation: a guide to the deposited collection and associated materials
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-08) Caballero, Gabriela
    Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara) is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Northern Mexico of great typological, theoretical, and historical significance. This paper presents an overview and background of the Choguita Rarámuri language description and documentation project and provides a guide to the documentary collection emerging from this project. This collection, deposited in the Endangered Languages Archive, is the result of collaboration with community members with the long-term goals of aiding in language preservation efforts and the development of a reference grammar of the language. While the production of linguistic analysis in the form of the reference grammar and other publications motivates a significant amount of the documentary corpus, the collection was also theorized from the perspective of a variety of audiences and provides an example of community-based design of documentary materials. This paper provides details on the development of the project, which allows readers to contextualize the scope and nature of the resulting corpus. This paper also discusses current restrictions on access to the collection, as well as an overview of existing associated materials and work underway that seeks to provide direct links between the deposited collection and products of linguistic analysis.
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    Linguistic Vitality, Endangerment, and Resilience
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-08) Roche, Gerald
    The concept of “resilience” originated in both ecology and psychology, and refers to the propensity of a system or entity to “bounce back” from a disturbance. Recently, the concept has found increasing application within linguistics, particularly the study of endangered languages. In this context, resilience is used to describe one aspect of long-term, cyclical changes in language vitality. Proponents of “resilience linguistics” argue that understanding long-term patterns of language vitality can be of use in fostering resilience in, and therefore maintenance of, endangered languages. This article takes a critical look at these proposals, based on the examination of long-term trends in the Monguor and Saami languages.
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    Putting practice into words: The state of data and methods transparency in grammatical descriptions
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-06-06) Gawne, Lauren ; Kelly, Barbara F. ; Berez-Kroeker, Andrea L. ; Heston, Tyler
    Language documentation and description are closely related practices, often performed as part of the same fieldwork project on an un(der)-studied language. Research trends in recent decades have seen a great volume of publishing in regards to the methods of language documentation, however, it is not clear that linguists' awareness of the importance of robust data-collection methods is translating into transparency about those methods or data citation in resultant publications. We analyze 50 dissertations and 50 grammars from a ten-year span (2003-2012) to assess the current state of the field. Publications are critiqued on the basis of transparency of data collection methods, analysis and storage, as well as citation of primary data. While we found examples of transparent reporting in these areas, much of the surveyed research does not include key information about methodology or data. We acknowledge that descriptive linguists often practice good methodology in data collection, but as a field we need to build a better culture with regard to making this clear in research writing. Thus we conclude with suggested benchmarks for the kind of information we believe is vital for creating a rich and useful research methodology in both long and short format descriptive research writing.
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    Motivating the documentation of the verbal arts: Arguments from theory and practice
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2017-06) Fitzgerald, Colleen M.
    For language documentation to be sufficiently extensive to cover a given community’s language practices (cf. Himmelmann 1998), then including verbal arts is essential to ensure the richness of that comprehensive record. The verbal arts span the creative and artistic uses of a given language by speakers, such as storytelling, songs, puns and poetry. In this paper, I demonstrate the significance of verbal arts documentation in three other ways. Drawing from Indigenous language community contexts in the United States, I describe how the verbal arts are relevant to linguistic theory, revitalization and training. First, the influence by verbal arts on phonological theory is attested, affirming that the collection and analysis of verbal arts data plays a significant role in the phonological analysis of a given language and in theories of phonology. Second, the verbal arts generate extremely useful examples in training models for language work, since such examples can be used to cultivate phonological awareness in learners and teachers. Third, the verbal arts provide culturally meaningful materials for language revitalization.