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Reconciling academic and pedagogical objectives in documentation: A case study of Mocho

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Title:Reconciling academic and pedagogical objectives in documentation: A case study of Mocho
Authors:Fox, Naomi
Contributors:Fox, Naomi (speaker)
Date Issued:14 Mar 2009
Description:Many endangered languages have little documentation, and that which does exist is often in a format which is not useful to communities of speakers. The rush to document because of endangerment issues and the constraints of the research schedule often drive the documentation process. In severe endangerment situations, it is vital to document as much of the language as possible, and researchers often focus the majority of precious research time on complex grammatical elicitation and the collection of narratives. However, it is not in the best interests of the documentation process to overlook the benefits of pedagogical approaches and possible alternative uses of the language data. In this paper I describe efforts to integrate legacy data and ongoing data collection to produce academic and pedagogical materials for Mocho’, a Mayan language of Mexico with fewer than 50 speakers remaining and no published dictionary, grammar, or pedagogical materials. There is increasing awareness in the field of language documentation of the ethical responsibility of researchers to be responsive to the language community, and recognition of the benefits of a reciprocal collaborative relationship between academic linguists and the language community. Additionally, the process of documentation itself can benefit from pedagogical materials development since the collection of documentary resources becomes more complete. The data needed for pedagogical materials is often different from that collected according to traditional documentation methodologies and researchers can encounter new structures and understandings through the collection of data for pedagogical materials. Efforts to produce accessible language learning materials from documentation have raised issues in the reconciliation of the dual objectives of linguistic documentation and language pedagogy. From a case study of the Mocho’ documentation project, I will address the following questions: - Is there a mismatch between the data necessary for documentation and those necessary for language learning? -What types of documentation are useful for the creation of language learning materials? -What factors should be considered when switching the focus from documentation to pedagogy? -What benefits could pedagogical considerations have for documentation processes? The process of digitizing legacy resources has received more rigorous attention recently within the field of language documentation; however, the use of the resultant materials is not as widely discussed. This paper presents principles drawn from the process of transforming linguistic documentation into usable digital formats, integrating current field research and legacy data, and using those resources to satisfy research goals and create language learning materials.
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections: 1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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