Orthography development for Darma (The case that wasn’t)

Date
2018-02
Authors
Oko, Christina Willis
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii Press
Abstract
As the discipline of language documentation and description evolves, so do the expectations placed on researchers. Current trends emphasize collaborative efforts that prioritize tangible contributions to the community, such as a pedagogical grammar, dictionary, or collection of texts. Some argue that for unwritten languages orthography development is imperative so that materials prepared by the researcher (perhaps in collaboration with the community) are accessible to speakers. In light of the current discussions of methodology and ethical issues related to endeavors to document and describe the world’s languages, this paper explores the challenges faced by a single researcher (the author) working on a single language (Darma) within a multilingual setting (in India). This project emphasizes ethnographic and discourse-centered research methodologies which reveal language ideologies that are discussed here to demonstrate that while orthography development is a reasonable objective in many cases, one must be sensitive to a variety of interconnecting issues including history, social relationships, language ideology, and local politics associated with writing and education. While orthography development has not been a viable option in the Darma Documentation and Description Project, it is nevertheless a matter that needs to be addressed for the benefit of the community as well as ongoing discussions of methodology and best practices in linguistic and anthropological research.
Description
Keywords
Language and languages--Orthography and spelling, language documentation, Darma, unwritten languages
Citation
Oko, Christina Willis. 2018. Orthography development for Darma (The case that wasn’t). Language Documentation & Conservation 12: 15-46.
Rights
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