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Five dimensions of collaboration: Toward a critical theory of coordination and interoperatability in language documentation

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Title:Five dimensions of collaboration: Toward a critical theory of coordination and interoperatability in language documentation
Authors:Glenn, Akiemi
Contributors:Glenn, Akiemi (speaker)
Date Issued:14 Mar 2009
Description:Documentary linguistics is engaged in an evolving discourse on best practices, methods, and ethics in an effort to establish a theory of language documentation. A developing consensus in the literature is that a language documentation should be comprehensive, data-centered, and usable by diverse audiences of academics, speech community members, and others. Writers have argued that comprehensiveness requires an orientation to many issues that are beyond the standard training and expertise of most linguists and that any successful documentation project will draw on the multiple strengths of interdisciplinary collaboration as well as collaboration with the speech community under study. As a result, “collaboration” has surfaced as a key term in best practices literature in language documentation and is used to describe both interactions between scholars and between researchers and communities. At the moment, collaboration is not the norm broadly in linguistics and for linguists coming to a documentation project the methods of effective collaboration may be difficult to identify. A theory of language documentation must also grapple with its theoretical orientation to collaboration. While the nature of collaboration between researchers and communities is best determined by the situation and individual cultures involved, there should be a theoretical space within the discipline of language documentation to begin to explore best practices for researchers working together. The first aim of this paper is to provide a review of some key literature on the subject of collaboration between researchers in the physical and computer sciences and the humanities. Secondly, the goal is to identify five aspects of academic collaboration—coordination, distribution of labor, standards for interoperation, authorship and authority, and feedback—that have special bearing on the enterprise of language documentation. Finally, the paper investigates these dimensions of collaboration as a starting point for linguists and our collaborators to consider critically what collaboration means for a language documentation project and for the discipline of linguistics. Through reviewing the five dimensions, I will suggest that a true theory of coordination of our efforts and interoperatability of the products of our documentation will require linguists to reorient our assumptions about the value of 'lone-wolf' linguistics, the power of the relationships between researchers, and will emphasize the advantage in engaging and perhaps altering the social and cultural underpinnings of linguistics as a discipline.
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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