Volume 04 : 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.


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 21
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    Making “collaboration” collaborative: An examination of perspectives that frame linguistic field research
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010-12) Leonard, Wesley Y. ; Haynes, Erin
    Though increasingly hailed as a best practice for linguistic field research, the notion of “collaboration” is rarely truly inclusive of both the “researcher” and the “researched.” This paper examines common assumptions about collaboration, particularly as they pertain to endangered language research, and advocates a paradigm shift toward a model that is truly in line with the “Respect for Persons” principle of the Belmont Report, the federal guide for ethical human research in the United States. We examine and critique other proposed forms of collaboration in linguistics, offering instead a model that incorporates the needs and expertise of all people involved in a research study. Specifically, we argue that true collaboration necessitates a collaborative approach in the very first stage of defining research roles and goals through collaborative consultation. We illustrate this approach through two case studies in Warm Springs (Oregon) and Miami (Oklahoma) communities. First, we examine our experiences conducting collaborative research within these communities. Second, we present a microanalysis of formal collaborative methods, focusing specifically on the question of determining speakerhood for linguistic fieldwork. We present collaboration as a philosophy and approach to developing a research program and demonstrate how this approach enhances rather than detracts from academic integrity.
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    Orthography design for Chuxnabán Mixe
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010-12) Jany, Carmen
    Many discussions of orthography development center on the later stages of such endeavors and on the impact of newly developed orthographies over an extended period of time. This paper focuses on the early stages of orthography development for Chuxnabán Mixe, a previously undocumented language, and the establishment of a working orthography in collaboration with the community for the purpose of language documentation. The orthography design follows many of the linguistic, pedagogical, sociopolitical, and practical principles observed in new orthographies, such as phonemic orientation, maximum ease of learning, local acceptability, and ease of use with computers and new media. While the community favors using conventions from the dominant language, Spanish, it also prefers dialectal particularity over multidialectal uniformity. Chuxnabán Mixe is a Mixean language spoken by 900 people in one village in Oaxaca, Mexico. Limited documentation is available for some of the other Mixean varieties, but there is no widely used uniform orthography. Mixean languages and dialects differ primarily in their vowel systems, and each variety, if documented, has its own orthographic conventions established, often highlighting dialectal idiosyncrasies. This paper illustrates the orthography development and discusses some of the similarities to and differences from other orthographic conventions used for this language family.
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    Words should be fun: Scrabble as a tool for language preservation in Tuvan and other local languages
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010-12) Voinov, Vitaly
    One small but practical way of empowering speakers of an endangered language to maintain their language’s vitality amidst a climate of rapid globalization is to introduce a mother-tongue version of the popular word game Scrabble into their society. This paper examines how versions of Scrabble have been developed and used for this purpose in various endangered or non-prestige languages, with a focus on the Tuvan language of south Siberia, for which the author designed a Tuvan version of the game. Playing Scrabble in their mother tongue offers several benefits to speakers of an endangered language: it presents a communal approach to group literacy, promotes the use of a standardized orthography, creates new opportunities for intergenerational transmission of the language, expands its domains of usage, and may heighten the language’s external and internal prestige. Besides demonstrating the benefits of Scrabble, the paper also offers practical suggestions concerning both linguistic factors (e.g., choice of letters to be included, calculation of letter frequencies, dictionary availability) and non-linguistic factors (board design, manufacturing, legal issues, etc.) relevant to producing Scrabble in other languages for the purpose of revitalization.
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    Basic oral language documentation
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010-12) Reiman, D. Will
    Since at least 1992, when Michael Krauss presented the topic of language endangerment in Language, linguists have been wrestling with the problem that languages are disappearing from the earth faster than they can be satisfactorily documented. This paper advocates a methodology for documenting languages that minimizes the use of high-cost means of recording comments on recorded language data (written annotation), focusing instead on making low-cost means (oral annotation) more effective. I present here a brief history of the origins of the method, detail how the annotation process is executed, and evaluate its effectiveness in several dimensions. Finally, since it is an emerging technique, I will also discuss the directions in which the research on this methodology ought to develop.
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    Review of Matapuna dictionary writing system
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010-12) Bah, Oumar
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.