LD&C Special Publication No. 1: Documenting and Revitalizing Austronesian Languages

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    Documenting and Revitalizing Austronesian Languages
    ( 2007) Rau, D. Victoria (Editor) ; Florey, Margaret (Editor)
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    Chapter 3. Training for Language Documentation: Experiences at the School of Oriental and African Studies
    ( 2007) Austin, Peter K.
    Since 2003 the Endangered Languages Project at SOAS has been involved in various types of training for documentation of endangered languages, ranging from one-day workshops through to MA and PhD post-graduate degree programmes. The training events have been attended by specialists, research grantees, students, and members of the general public, and have covered a wide range of topics and involved delivery in a range of contexts and delivery modes, including hands-on practical sessions and e-learning in the Blackboard framework. We have covered both theory and practice of language documentation and endangered language support, including the development of multimedia and curriculum materials for language teaching, some of it experimental and, we think, quite innovative. In this chapter I discuss some of our experiences in developing and running these training workshops and courses, reporting on the models, and successes (and failures) over the past three and a half years. My goal is to share our accumulated knowledge and experience with others with similar interests, and in doing so to advance our understanding of the possibilities for language documentation training.
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    Chapter 10. WeSay, a Tool for Engaging Communities in Dictionary Building
    ( 2007) Albright, Eric ; Hatton, John
    This chapter introduces WeSay, an open source software application designed to involve language community members in the description and documentation of their language. Intended for rugged, low- power hardware, WeSay's simplified user interface removes many barriers that typically prevent the direct involvement of community members. In this chapter, we describe the dictionary-building features of WeSay that allow a linguist to tailor a sequence of language documentation tasks to engage community members. These tasks reduce a production step to its simplest form, enabling focused training and division of labor. Word gathering tasks use semantic domains, word lists, or patterns of likely words to build up the dictionary. Successive tasks add specific content, such as glosses and example sentences, to the entries. In addition, the program can prepare simple paper publications designed to promote community support for the effort and can transfer the raw data to the linguist for further processing with tools that are more powerful.
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    Chapter 8. Indigenous Language–informed Participatory Policy in Taiwan: A Socio-political Perspective
    ( 2007) Lin, Yih-Ren ; Icyeh, Lahwy ; Kuan (Daya), Da-Wei
    This chapter highlights the importance of incorporating indigenous language and its daily practice in the local context of newly transformed indigenous policy in Taiwan. Currently, the official indigenous people’s language policy is relatively confined to curriculum development and certification of indigenous peoples’ language abilities with little consideration of language practices in real socio- political situations. This chapter questions whether the revitalization of endangered indigenous languages can rely only on language policy per se. The participatory action research (PAR) methodology is employed as a main research method in inhabited Atayal communities. This chapter is divided into three main parts: firstly, a brief socio-political history of indigenous people in Taiwan is provided; secondly, two socio-political official projects related to traditional territory sovereignty are analyzed: their failure is revealed due to the neglect of indigenous language and local participation; thirdly, a case from an Atayal village, Smangus, is provided to show how indigenous languages can be revitalized through combining the villagers’ daily practices and participation. In conclusion, this chapter argues for a combining of language policy with other socio-political policies so as to create environments in which indigenous peoples can speak their own languages.
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    Front matter
    ( 2007) Language Documentation & Conservation