Volume 14 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
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    Review of LexiRumah 3.0.0
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-12) Willemsen, Jeroen ; Goldshtein, Yonatan
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    Linguistics and Political Science: A Strategy for Interdisciplinary and Ethical Research Methodology on Language Endangerment and Political Conflict
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-11) Chelliah, Shobhana ; Meernik, James ; King, Kimi
    We propose that linguists and political scientists develop an interdisciplinary and ethical research strategy for studying the relationships between language endangerment and political conflict. A leading cause of language endangerment is political violence driven by outside actors who expropriate land, extract resources, and displace individuals, many of whom reside in communities that speak endangered languages. Most language documentation projects, however, do not address the political landscape that causes the conflict, whether it is history, language policy, conflict over natural resources and ethno-religious identities, or absent and co-opted governmental institutions experienced by the communities in question. At the same time, political scientists have developed models to explain and predict the political conflict and violence that threaten entire communities and can also explain why indigenous communities are particularly at risk of being harmed by this type of violence. We suggest that an interdisciplinary strategy that combines some of the large N data analysis strengths of political science with the qualitative, community-driven research of linguists can best help scholars understand the determinants of language loss; conduct such research ethically, and help utilize the fruits of this research to support and empower endangered language communities.
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    Supporting small languages together: The history and impact of the International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation series
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-10) Berez-Kroeker, Andrea L. ; Handley, Noella ; Rentz, Bradley ; Yoshioka, Jim ; Anderson, Victoria ; McDonnell, Bradley
    The International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation series, or ICLDC, has, since its inception in 2009, become the flagship conference for the field of language documentation. Every two years, conference attendees gather at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to share their experiences working on diverse topics related to the preservation of underrepresented languages worldwide. Attendees come from a range of backgrounds: Indigenous language communities, language activism organizations, K–12 school systems, as well as students and faculty from colleges and universities. They represent dozens of countries and hundreds of languages, and they have one goal in mind: supporting small languages together. In this paper, we trace the history of the ICLDC series since the first iteration and discuss the scope of its impact on the field of language documentation and conservation according to conference attendees. We also look ahead to the changes that the covid-19 pandemic will bring to the structure of the conference in 2021 and beyond.
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    Talking about strings: The language of string figure-making in a Sepik society in Papua New Guinea
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-10) Hoenigman, Darja
    The practice of making string figures, often called cat’s cradle, can be found all over the world and is particularly widespread in Melanesia. It has been studied by anthropologists, linguists and mathematicians. For the latter, the ordered series of moves and the resultant string figures represent cognitive processes that form part of a practice of recreational mathematics. Modern anthropology is interested in the social and cultural aspects of string figures, including their associations with other cultural practices, with the local mythology and songs. Despite this clear link to language, few linguists have studied string figures, and those who have, have mainly focused on the songs and formulaic texts that accompany them. Based on a systematic study of string figures among the Awiakay, the inhabitants of Kanjimei village in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, with six hours of transcribed video recordings of the practice, this paper argues that studying string figure-making can be an important aspect of language documentation – not just through the recording and analysis of the accompanying oral literature, but also as a tool for documenting other speech genres through recordings of the naturalistic speech that surrounds string figure-making performances. In turn, analysing the language associated with string figure-making offers valuable insights into the meaning of string figures as understood by their makers.
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    Pre-Revitalization Language Assessment
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-10) Yang, Sejung
    Testing is increasingly recognized as a vital part of language revitalization. I demonstrate here that assessment of linguistic knowledge should also be part of the planning process that precedes the creation of a revitalization program. I take as an example Jejueo, the language of Korea’s Jeju Island. Whereas previously published work contradicted UNESCO’s conclusion that the language is critically endangered, a test that I designed to elicit basic vocabulary and verbal patterns from 224 participants (from elementary school students to senior citizens) revealed otherwise. Alarming deficits in basic knowledge of the language were uncovered that both confirmed UNESCO’s classification of the language and identified the particular areas in which remediation is required.
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    Archival description for language documentation collections
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-09) Sullivant, Ryan
    Users of digital language archives face a number of barriers when trying to discover and reuse the materials preserved in the digital collections created by current language documentation projects. These barriers include sparse descriptive metadata throughout many collections and the prevalence of audio-video materials that are impervious to text-based search. Users could more easily evaluate, navigate, and use such a collection if it contained a guide that contextualized it, summarized its contents, and helped users identify and locate items within it. This article will discuss the importance of thorough collection descriptions and finding aids by synthesizing guidelines and best practices for archival description created for traditional archives and adapting these to the structure and makeup of today’s digital language documentation collections. To facilitate the iterative description of growing collections, the checklist of information to include is presented in three groups of descending priority.
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    Keeping it real: Video data in language documentation and language archiving
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-09) Seyfeddinipur, Mandana ; Rau, Felix
    Working with video data is on its way to becoming standard practice in language documentation. However, documenters looking on the web for guidance on standards and best practices for archiving audio-visual data encounter a vast and potentially confusing diversity of information. Unfortunately, a lot of information on archiving video is concerned with digitized film stock and not with the type of video data produced in language documentation. This paper presents relevant standards and established community best practices in a short and realistic manner, pledging to keep things real.
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    SLEXIL: User-centred software for community language documentation
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-08) Beck, David ; Shannon, Paul
    SLEXIL (Software Linking ELAN XML to Illuminated Language) is a web application designed to allow users to create animated HTML files from time-aligned transcriptions made in ELAN. Unlike earlier projects with similar goals, SLEXIL is a zero-installation web app developed strictly on user-centred principles, designed with the goal of transferring as much of the technical expertise needed for the process away from the user and onto the maintainers and developers of the software. While SLEXIL itself is rather modest and built for a very specific purpose, we feel that its design is proof of concept for the next generation of user-centred software applications developed for linguists, community language activists, teachers, and others involved in Indigenous and Minority Language Sustainability.
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    A collaborative development of workshops for teachers of Great Basin languages using principles of decolonization and language reclamation
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-08) Montoya, Ignacio L. ; Harry, Debra ; Burns, Jennie
    The project described in this paper adopts a decolonization-oriented, reclamation-based approach to language maintenance and revitalization. Designed and implemented collaboratively with members of the local university and tribal communities, the project involves a series of five two-hour professional development workshops for teachers of Great Basin Indigenous languages spoken in and around Northern Nevada: Numu (Northern Paiute), Wašiw (Washo), and Newe (Western Shoshone). The primary goal of the project was building capacity to support language teachers by facilitating presentations, discussions, and activities that contribute to the sharing of ideas and best practices for the promotion of local languages. These workshops were preceded by an information-gathering session to determine the interests and needs of language teachers, which resulted in the selection of workshop topics: decolonization, teaching techniques, linguistics, Great Basin history and culture, and media/recording. A diverse set of facilitators and participants were involved with the project, most of whom were members of local tribal communities. Throughout the project, the organizers remained mindfully focused on the notions of decolonization, capacity-building, and respect for Indigenous knowledge.
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    Supplementary material to Determinants of phonetic word duration in ten language documentation corpora: Word frequency, complexity, position, and part of speech
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2020-07) Strunk, Jan ; Seifart, Frank ; Danielsen, Swintha ; Hartmann, Iren ; Pakendorf, Brigitte ; Wichmann, Søren ; Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena ; Bickel, Balthasar