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Collecting Texts in Endangered Languages: The Chickasaw Narrative Bootcamp

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Title:Collecting Texts in Endangered Languages: The Chickasaw Narrative Bootcamp
Authors:Fitzgerald, Colleen M.
Hinson, Joshua D.
Keywords:Chickasaw language
text collection
endangered languages
Date Issued:Dec 2016
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Fitzgerald, Colleen M. & Joshua D. Hinson. Collecting Texts in Endangered Languages: The Chickasaw Narrative Bootcamp. Language Documentation 10. 522-547.
Abstract:While data collection early in the Americanist tradition included texts as part of the Boasian triad, later developments in the generative tradition moved away from narratives. With a resurgence of attention to texts in both linguistic theory and language documentation, the literature on methodologies is growing (i.e., Chelliah 2001, Chafe 1980, Burton & Matthewson 2015). We outline our approach to collecting Chickasaw texts in what we call a ‘narrative bootcamp.’ Chickasaw is a severely threatened language and no longer in common daily use. Facilitating narrative collection with elder fluent speakers is an important goal, as is the cultivation of second language speakers and the training of linguists and tribal language professionals. Our bootcamps meet these goals. Moreover, we show many positive outcomes to this approach, including a positive sense of language use and ‘fun’ voiced by the elders, the corpus expansion that occurs by collecting and processing narratives onsite in the workshop, and field methods training for novices. Importantly, we find the sparking of personal recollections facilitates the collection of heretofore unrecorded narrative genres in Chickasaw. This approach offers an especially fruitful way to build and expand a text corpus for small communities of highly endangered languages.
Pages/Duration:26 pages
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Appears in Collections: Volume 10 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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