Volume 15 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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    Between Stress and Tone: Acoustic Evidence of Word Prominence in Kurtöp
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2021-12) Hyslop, Gwendolyn
    Classic typologies within prosody tend to treat ‘tone’ languages as being diametrically opposed to ‘stress’ languages. However, Hyman (2006) highlights several languages that can have both, including Seneca, Fasu, and Copala Trique. As language documentation advances and our acoustic methodologies in the field are further refined, we have seen this list continue to expand. The aim in this article is to further this research trajectory by presenting the correlates of stress in Kurtöp, a tonal Tibeto-Burman language. Kurtöp has a word-level tone system, in which high versus low tone is required on the first syllable of every word. Stress, or prosodic word-level prominence, is realised on the first syllable of a root. Thus, stress and tone usually occur on the same syllable; they are only separated from each other when the negative prefix triggers movement of the tone to the initial syllable, leaving a stressed but toneless second syllable. Based on data collected in the field from three speakers, this article shows that the primary correlate of stress is duration, not pitch, intensity, or expansion of vowel space.
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    Automatic Speech Recognition for Supporting Endangered Language Documentation
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2021-11) Prud’hommeaux, Emily ; Jimerson, Robbie ; Hatcher, Richard ; Michelson, Karin
    Generating accurate word-level transcripts of recorded speech for language documentation is difficult and time-consuming, even for skilled speakers of the target language. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) has the potential to streamline transcription efforts for endangered language documentation, but the practical utility of ASR for this purpose has not been fully explored. In this paper, we present results of a study in which both linguists and community members, with varying levels of language proficiency, transcribe audio recordings of an endangered language under timed conditions with and without the assistance of ASR. We find that both time-to-transcribe and transcription error rates are significantly reduced when correcting ASR for language learners of all levels. Despite these improvements, most community members in our study express a preference for unassisted transcription, highlighting the need for developers to directly engage with stakeholders when designing and deploying technologies for supporting language documentation.
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    Using YouTube as the Primary Transcription and Translation Platform for Remote Corpus Work
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2021-11) Rice, Alexander
    This paper presents a remote corpus work model that was developed between an outside researcher and community collaborator to continue transcription/translation work at a distance with previously collected material in response to the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The paper describes, in detail, the corpus work model, which is based on Ryan Pennington’s (2014) SayMore-FLEx-ELAN workflow and uses YouTube as the primary transcription/translation platform. The paper also describes the pros, cons, and specific situational context in which this model has proven useful so that other documentation teams in similar contexts might benefit. In addition to simply providing a method of doing corpus work remotely, the model also provides a way to maintain community capacity building at a distance.
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    Mapping Urban Linguistic Diversity in New York City: Motives, Methods, Tools, and Outcomes
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2021-10) Perlin, Ross ; Kaufman, Daniel ; Turin, Mark ; Daurio, Maya ; Craig, Sienna ; Lampel, Jason
    Communities around the world have distinctive ways of representing language use across space and territory. The approach to and method of mapping languages that began with nineteenth-century European dialectology and colonial boundary making is one such way. Though practiced by relatively few linguists today, language mapping has developed considerably from its roots yet remains stymied by problems of ideology, representation, and data quality. In this paper, we argue that digital language mapping in hyperdiverse cities can both contribute to overcoming these problems and bring visibility and resources to communities using Indigenous, minority, and primarily oral languages. For these communities, official surveys like the census are often inadequate, leaving a gap that communities, linguists, and mapping experts working in partnership can address. Urban language mapping as a field should make space for Indigenous, minority, and primarily oral languages through geospatial visualization – in terms that the communities themselves recognize and with a public policy agenda. As a case study, we present our ongoing efforts with LANGUAGEMAP.NYC to map the most linguistically diverse urban center in the world: New York City.
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    The Role of Input in Language Revitalization: The Case of Lexical Development
    (University of Hawaii Press, 2021-10) O’Grady, William ; Heaton, Raina ; Bulalang, Sharon ; King, Jeanette
    Immersion programs have long been considered the gold standard for school-based language revitalization, but surprisingly little attention has been paid to the quantity and quality of the input that they provide to young language learners. Drawing on new data from three such programs (Kaqchikel, Western Subanon, and Māori), each with its own particular motivation, objectives, and pedagogical practices, we examine a key component of this revitalization strategy, namely the amount and type of lexical input that children receive. Our findings include previously unknown facts about the number of words that children in these programs hear per hour, the ratio of word tokens to word types, and the skewed frequency distribution of the particular words that make up the input. We discuss our findings with reference both to comparable measures for first language acquisition in a home setting and to their relevance for pedagogical strategies in the classroom.