Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Linking language documentation to community needs: Kaska Language workers and the Kaska On-line Dictionary Project

File Size Format  
25301.mp3 59.47 MB MP3 View/Open

Item Summary Moore, Patrick McDonald, Linda Pye, Selena Donnessey, Mida 2015-03-12T20:30:02Z 2015-03-12T20:30:02Z 2015-03-12
dc.description Documentary language materials that serve the needs of local source communities differ from those designed for academic researchers. Local communities encompass users with diverse interests and abilities, everyone from pre-school learners to fluent speakers. This paper examines the language needs of community language workers, particularly language teachers and translators, who are an especially important local audience. Although the number of community language workers is typically small, they play a disproportionate role as language activists in developing teaching resources, instructing classes, and using the language in public settings. They are among the most literate members of the local community, and commonly work to enhance their spoken language fluency. They have often trained with academic language researchers and are among the most frequent users of documentary resources. This paper examines the needs of Kaska language workers in Ross River and Watson Lake, Yukon who, over the last six months, have contributed to a collaborative on-line Kaska dictionary project conducted in collaboration between two First Nations, the Yukon Department of Education, and university-based researchers. We consider the extent to which design options, including the use of contemporary digital and web-based technologies, have facilitated or failed to facilitate the usability of the dictionary for community language workers. Dene (Athabaskan) dictionaries pose problems for dictionary makers and users relating to the complex structure of verbs. Hargus (2012) has pointed out that what might be construed as verbal headword entries in Dene languages are discontinuous, unpronounceable, non-word entities. Similarly Poser (2003) says that because of the extensive prefixation and complex verb stem variation in these languages there is a basic dilemma between a root based analytical dictionary (requiring extensive knowledge of abstract language structure) and presenting an overwhelming number of fully inflected forms. We explore a compromise organizational structure that utilizes access through English translational equivalents, Kaska entries organized by Kaska roots, and paradigms of selected inflected forms. We consider the advantages of using linked sound files as well as written text and reference to sentences, conversations and narratives recorded with fluent speakers. Finally we consider what types of recorded materials are most useful for Kaska language workers in their roles as language instructors and advanced language learners. References Hargus, Sharon 2012 Design Issues in Athabaskan Dictionaries. Northwest Journal of Linguistics 6(2):1-14. Poser, William 2003 Making Athabaskan Dictionaries Usable. Working Papers in the Athabaskan Languages 2: Proceedings of the 2002 Athabaskan Languages Conference, 136-147.
dc.rights Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
dc.title Linking language documentation to community needs: Kaska Language workers and the Kaska On-line Dictionary Project
dc.contributor.speaker Moore, Patrick
dc.contributor.speaker McDonald, Linda
dc.contributor.speaker Pye, Selena
dc.contributor.speaker Donnessey, Mida 2015-02-27 2015-02-27
Appears in Collections: 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

Please email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.

Items in ScholarSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.