Volume 07 : 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 - 10 of 19
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    Languoid, Doculect, and Glossonym: Formalizing the Notion 'Language'
    ( 2013-12-19) Good, Jeff ; Cysouw, Michael
    It is perfectly reasonable for laypeople and non-linguistic scholars to use names for languages without reflecting on the proper definition of the objects referred to by these names. Simply using a name like English or Witotoan suffices as an informal communicative designation for a particular language or a language group. However, for the linguistics community, which is by definition occupied with the details of languages and language variation, it is somewhat bizarre that there does not exist a proper technical apparatus to talk about intricate differences in opinion about the precise sense of a name like English or Witotoan when used in academic discussion. We propose three interrelated concepts—LANGUOID, DOCULECT, and GLOSSONYM—which provide a principled basis for discussion of different points of view about key issues, such as whether two varieties should be associated with the same language, and allow for a precise description of what exactly is being claimed by the use of a given genealogical or areal group name. The framework they provide should be especially useful to researchers who work on underdescribed languages where basic issues of classification remain unresolved.
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    Collaborative Development of Blackfoot Language Courses
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-12) Miyashita, Mizuki ; Chatsis, Annabelle
    This paper presents the experience of developing a Blackfoot language course as a collaboration between a Blackfoot native speaker and a linguist. During the process, we encountered various challenges typical of indigenous language education in the United States. These include issues such as the lack of language teaching materials, the existence of multiple dialects and various writing systems, and the lack of teacher training opportunities. This paper describes our attempts at addressing these issues and devising strategies to meet these challenges.
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    Training Communities, Training Graduate Students: The 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-12) Fitzgerald, Colleen M. ; Linn, Mary S.
    While grassroots organizations like the American Indian Language Development Institute have long shown the importance of training to indigenous language communities, an increasing emphasis on training in language documentation and revitalization is emerging in new funding initiatives, training institutes and consortia world-wide. In this current atmosphere the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop presents a case study in training in which the goals of training indigenous community members and graduate students can take place simultaneously. With the rising prominence of training models in language documentation and revitalization, and the practical dimension faced by limitations on resources like personnel and funding, the importance of satisfying multiple goals in a single training venue cannot be underestimated. Additionally, this project demonstrates how learning can take place outside of the typical, credit-bearing university class, offering flexibility to indigenous community members and filling a gap in training for graduate students that formal coursework does not provide. Four factors were essential: team selection process; mentoring; final projects by community member participants; and reflection by graduate student mentors. We outline in detail the elements of these four factors, as well as provide evidence of continued engagement in language work by participants through post-workshop activities.
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    Review of Takuu grammar and dictionary: A Polynesian language of the South Pacific
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-12) Donner, William W.
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    Reviving Siraya: A Case for Language Engineering
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-12) Adelaar, Alexander
    Siraya is a language once spoken in Southwest Taiwan, which is being revived. Some Siraya data is inconsistent, requiring strategies as to how it will be implemented. I discuss some of these strategies in support of the revival attempt. The following issues deserve attention: 1. Siraya phonology includes a schwa (ə), although it is ignored in the original orthography. The choice here is between keeping this orthography and ignoring schwa, or re-establishing schwa and changing the orthography. 2. Siraya had maintained part of the original Proto Austronesian voice system. However, this system was losing some voice oppositions and was being re-aligned when Siraya was still spoken. Two approaches are possible: keeping the original Siraya voice system, or adapting to the tendencies to change, which were strong but had not yet taken their full course. 3. Siraya had at least three dialects, two of which are particularly useful for revitalization. In order to build a lexicon for a revitalized Siraya, should the vocabulary of these dialects be combined without further ado? Or should the words from one dialect phonologically be adjusted to the other? Is there a cause for revitalizing various dialects? 4. Siraya had “anticipating sequences”, whereby a formal part (an initial consonant, a syllable, or two syllables) of the lexical verb is prefixed to the adverbial head. Anticipating sequences abound in one dialect but are absent in the other. As it is a rather complicated and irregular feature, should it be taught in modern Siraya classes? And if so, how should it be taught: in all its complexity, or in a somewhat simplified version? Or can it be ignored without causing too much structural imbalance to the grammar?
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    A Sociolinguistic Assessment of the Roshani Speech Variety in Afghanistan
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-12) Beck, Simone
    This paper presents the results of a sociolinguistic assessment conducted in September 2007 in the Roshan area in Afghanistan, where the vernacular Roshani is spoken (ISO: sgh, for Shughni). The goal of the assessment was to determine whether the Roshani people will benefit from a language development project, opening the possibility for literature development and primary school education in the vernacular. The objectives were to assess whether the national language Dari (ISO: prs, for Persian) or the closely related speech variety Shughni would be adequate to be used in literature and primary school education. This was achieved by administering sociolinguistic questionnaires and village elder questionnaires, eliciting word lists, testing intelligibility of the Shughni speech variety, and observing and asking about bilingualism with Dari. In this way the domains of language use, attitude towards Roshani, Shughni and Dari, and bilingualism with Dari, and intelligibility of Shughni were determined. This paper aims to show that due to low bilingualism with Dari, Dari literature cannot serve the Roshani speech community adequately. Because of high intelligibility with Shughni and a neutral attitude, it will be recommendable that Shughni reading material will be tested in Roshan as soon as it is ready.
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    The International Workshop on Language Preservation: An Experiment in Text Collection and Language Technology
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-10) Bird, Steven ; Chiang, David ; Frowein, Friedel ; Berez, Andrea L. ; Eby, Mark ; Hanke, Florian ; Shelby, Ryan ; Vaswani, Ashish ; Wan, Ada
    With hundreds of endangered and under-documented languages, Papua New Guinea presents an enormous challenge to the documentary linguistics community. This article reports on a workshop held at the University of Goroka in May and June of 2012. The workshop aimed to collect written texts and their translations for several languages, while building local capacity through hands-on training, and improving our understanding of the appropriate use of technology. The majority of participants were mother tongue speakers who seek to preserve their languages through the preparation of written language resources.
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    Review of Language documentation: Practice and values
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-10) Rosés Labrada, Jorge Emilio
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    Building the British Sign Language Corpus
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2013-10) Schembri, Adam ; Fenlon, Jordan ; Rentelis, Ramas ; Reynolds, Sally ; Cormier, Kearsy
    This paper presents an overview of the British Sign Language Corpus Project—the first endeavor to create a machine-readable digital corpus of British Sign Language (BSL) collected from deaf signers across the United Kingdom. In the field of sign language studies, it represents a unique combination of methodology from variationist sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics. Unlike previous large-scale sign language sociolinguistic projects, the dataset is being annotated and tagged using ELAN software, given metadata descriptions, and the video data has been made accessible, with long-term efforts to make the dataset searchable on-line. This means, however, that participants must consent to having the video data of their sign language use made public. This puts at risk the authenticity of the linguistic data collected, as signers may monitor their production more carefully than usual. We discuss our attempt to minimize this problem by creating a dual-access archive.
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.