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Designing reference grammars for Taiwan indigenous languages: Collaborative work between linguists and native speakers

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Title:Designing reference grammars for Taiwan indigenous languages: Collaborative work between linguists and native speakers
Authors:Zeitoun, Elizabeth
Huang, Lillian
Contributors:Zeitoun, Elizabeth (speaker)
Huang, Lillian (speaker)
Date Issued:12 Mar 2015
Description:Taiwan is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual country. With the total population being around 21 million, only 2% are Austronesian peoples, who belong to 16 different tribes officially. However, many of the Austronesian languages spoken on the island have been facing the crisis of extinction, due to the drastic language policies carried out during the time of the Japanese occupation and during the first fifty years of the Nationalist Government. Since Taiwan has been considered the homeland of Austronesian languages by many scholars, various strategies have been utilized by the Taiwan government in order to save these endangered languages, such as teaching of indigenous languages at elementary schools, development of indigenous language textbooks, training of indigenous language teachers, execution of indigenous language proficiency tests, and compilation of indigenous language dictionaries.

This paper will illustrate how the majority of Formosan linguists form a collaborative research team in helping preserve and promote these endangered languages, with the financial support of a three-year research project. Each of these linguists has been working on the named languages for at least eight years. In this paper, how they designed 14 Taiwan Austronesian languages’ reference grammars will be discussed, including the working pattern among the project participants, the training of indigenous people to better understand their language structures, the content of each reference grammar, and the e-platform of displaying research findings, data being collected, and sound files of all the data which will serve as learning material for future learners. It is hoped that the present paper will encourage more linguists to work together hands in hands with native speakers in helping revitalize endangered languages.
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections: 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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