270 Works

Fa d’Ambô (Equatorial Guinea) - Language Snapshot

Ana Lívia Agostinho
Fa d’Ambô is a Portuguese-lexifier creole language spoken in Annobón Island in the Gulf of Guinea and part of Equatorial Guinea. The language is genetically related to three other creoles spoken in the Gulf of Guinea, in São Tomé and Príncipe: Lungwa Santome or Forro, Angolar, and Lung’Ie or Principense. During fieldwork on Annobón conducted in 2012, I observed that all locals speak the language. There are a few elderly monolinguals but the majority are...

Interdisciplinary aspirations and disciplinary archives: Losing and finding John M. Weatherby’s Soo data

Samuel J. Beer
As theorized in language documentation, archives serve to make research reproducible and to make primary data accessible for multiple audiences (Himmelmann 2006; Berez-Kroeker et al. 2018). Scholars in the emerging mid-20th-century field of African history emphasized these same priorities. Mid-century Africanist historians assembled large text collections but failed in a clearly stated disciplinary project to preserve them in accessible archives. This paper explores the relationship between institutional and social factors in data preservation through the...

The Arapesh “suitcase miracle”: The interpretive value of reproducible research

Lise Dobrin
Recent discussions about reproducibility in linguistics emphasize that access to the original documentation allows analyses to be checked against the data that underlie them. But every annotated recording is itself always an interpretation, with some information and perspectives highlighted and some obscured. For this reason, access to the original documentation offers something better than scientific accountability: it offers a view into the underlying acts of interpretation made by other researchers and the consultants and assistants...

Table of Contents

Lise Dobrin & Saul Schwartz
Language Documentation and Description, Vol. 21 (2021): Special Issue on the Social Lives of Linguistic Legacy Materials

Documenting language and discerning listenership: Fluent speakers’ evaluations of Dakota’s oldest legacy texts.

Josh Wayt
This paper follows ethnopoetic tradition by combining close linguistic analysis with ethnographic scrutiny in order to shed light on the social production of the oldest legacy data on the Dakota language, a set of biblical translations published in 1839. Semantic calques from the French-language source text are ubiquitous in the translations, which subsequently became enregistered as “theological speech” through their use in Dakota religious services for nearly two centuries. Despite the morpho-syntactic aberrance of this...

Using Strategic Scholarships to Increase Affordability and Accelerate Enrollment Growth

John A. Gipson, Anne C. Jarrard & Elizabeth Casebeer
Since 2013, Purdue University has been implementing a series of strategies to increase summer enrollment and affordability as part of the Purdue Moves initiative. One important aspect of the plan includes dedicating a portion of new summer tuition and fees toward strategic scholarships and need-based financial aid to help students speed time to degree completion. In the past, scholarships ere dedicated to Summer Start, Summer Stay, and Summer Finish. In 2018, the Advisor-Initiated Scholarship, Summer...

Sartang (West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, India) - Language Contexts

Timotheus A. Bodt
Sartang is a recently coined name for a Scheduled Tribe inhabiting four villages and their associated hamlets in West Kameng district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Sartang also refers to the four linguistic varieties that the people belonging to this Scheduled Tribe speak. Sartang is a Trans-Himalayan language belonging to the Western Kho-Bwa languages of the Kho-Bwa cluster. Because of low speaker numbers and rapid socio-economic developments in the area, Sartang may...

Rokdung (Sikkim, India) - Language Snapshot

Ktien Hima & R. Karthick Narayanan
Rokdung is the language of a small clan subdivision of the Rai community, mostly living in the village of Rolep, East Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. This previously undocumented language is classified in the Kiranti sub-branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. The language has no more than 20 speakers and is critically endangered; current speakers only have partial fluency and low lexical recall. There is no previous scholarly work available, nor is it recognized by the...

Kera’a (Arunachal Pradesh, India) - Language Snapshot

Naomi Peck
Kera’a is a Trans-Himalayan language1 traditionally spoken by the Kera’a (Idu Mishmi) in the Lower Dibang and Dibang Valley districts of Arunachal Pradesh, located in disputed territory between India and China. The language is still widely-spoken in the valley by up to 16,000 speakers total, but ongoing cultural, economic and demographic change in the region due to outside forces has led to partial disruption of generational transmission. There are some previously published resources on the...

Additive focus in Sylheti: Description and analysis in a Lexical-Functional Grammar framework

Heather Brown
This paper offers a description of the additive focus marker in Sylheti and proposes an analysis within the Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) framework. It first examines the literature around focus particles, before providing a descriptive account of the Sylheti particle =ɔ, which marks additive focus. Finally, a theoretical account of the particle is proposed within the LFG framework.

A descriptive account of agentless constructions in Sylheti: passive, impersonal, and anticausative

E. Marie Thaut, Andriana Koumbarou & Zurab Baratashvili
We identify three constructions in Sylheti which license the non-mention of an agent argument or do not allow the realisation of one. We describe a passive construction, which allows the realisation of an agent followed by the converbial instrumental dia ‘by’, formed with the addition of a nominalizing suffix -a to the verbal root and the tensed passive auxiliary o- ‘become’. The second construction is an impersonal passive with the passive auxiliary za- ‘go’, which...

Calquing structure: how to say ‘the’ in Isinay, Philippines

Lawrence A. Reid
Isinay is a highly endangered Central Cordilleran language spoken in northern Luzon, Philippines. This paper discusses noun phrase structures in Isinay and how Spanish missionaries translating the Roman Catholic catechism in the 17th century created an innovative structure that marks definiteness by calquing from corresponding Spanish structures. We present arguments for a loan translation analysis and show how it cannot have developed from phrase structures inherited from an ancestor languages.

The multilingual realities of language reclamation: Working with language contact, diversity, and change in endangered language education

Haley De Korne
Purist ideologies of language and culture – fostered and encouraged by nation-states and formal schooling in the interest of homogenisation – have become deeply embedded in language-related disciplines, including documentary linguistics, applied linguistics, and education. As a result, dialect variation, multilingual repertoires, and intergenerational change are often viewed as problems by linguists and educators, who promote an elusive monolingual speaker norm which risks excluding learners and multilingual speakers. This paper draws on an ethnographic study...

Access and accessibility at ELAR, an archive for endangered languages documentation

David Nathan
Language documentation, also known as documentary linguistics, is a subfield of linguistics that emerged in the 1990s as a response to predictions that the majority of human languages will disappear within a century (Krauss 1992). The new discipline aims to develop ‘methods, tools, and theoretical underpinnings for compiling a representative and lasting multipurpose record of a natural language’ (Gippert et al 2006: v). The issue of access to archive resources is multifaceted, and goes far...

Building community participation into documentation design: lessons learned in Sakun (Sukur)

Michael F. Thomas
A successful language documentation project needs to balance the sometimes conflicting goals of all the project stakeholders in order to enhance everyone’s desired outcomes. Linguists have a wide range of motivations for archiving and analyzing languages, many of which have little to do with community goals of maintenance and development. It is argued here that while documentation and development goals may not always be one and the same, the goals of this documentation project are...

Grammaticalization of tense and aspect in Mbugwe: a preliminary investigation

Vera Wilhelmsen
Mbugwe is a relatively small Bantu language spoken in Northern Tanzania, between the cities of Arusha and Babati. The formal classification is Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Narrow Bantu, Central, F, Nyilamba-Langi (F.30) (Lewis 2009). It is of particular interest to linguists because it is isolated from the other Bantu languages, surrounded by languages from other families, such as the Cushitic languages Iraqw and Gorowa to the west and south respectively, and the Nilotic...

Living archives: A community-based language archive model

Mary S. Linn
Building on the models of Community-Based Language Research (Czaykowska-Higgins 2009) and Participatory Archives (Huvila 2008), I propose a Community-Based Language Archive model (CBLA), and outline its implications for archiving, documentary linguistics and language maintenance, revitalization and renewal. Implementation of a community-based language archive will vary according to the geographic location, local community, and archive, and it will change as new technologies advance. So, this paper does not pretend to present something that is radically new,...

Archives and audiences: Toward making endangered language documentations people can read, use, understand, and admire

Anthony C. Woodbury
Language documentation leads to the accumulation of linguistic records in vast quantity. Digital archives of language documentation have, of course, much in common with traditional ones. Still, digital archives are different. These differences all have impacts on how archives are conceived, and on what we ask of them. In effect archives are becoming a means for communicating results to a wide range of audiences. And this in turn may affect how archives work with more...

Language Contexts: Vatlongos, Southeast Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Eleanor Ridge
Vatlongos, known as Southeast Ambrym in previous literature, is an Oceanic language spoken by somewhere between 2500 and 3700 speakers in Vanuatu. As well as being spoken in the Southeast region of Ambrym island, it is spoken by a relocated community outside the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila, on Efate island. One of the villages on Ambrym, Endu, speaks a different dialect and has close cultural links to speakers of North Ambrym languages. This article...

Supporting Indigenous language revitalisation through collaborative post-secondary proficiency-building curriculum

Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, Onowa McIvor, Aliki Marinakis & Strang Burton
One contemporary strategy for reversing language shift undertaken by Indigenous communities includes engaging with educational institutions. In Canada language revitalisation strategies in Indigenous communities increasingly include adult language courses and programmes, often delivered through partnerships between communities and post-secondary institutions. A challenge for revitalisation strategies at the post-secondary level is creating programmes founded in Indigenous educational traditions and values within largely Euro-Western focused institutions that have themselves played a role in the colonisation of Indigenous...

The role of elder speakers in language revitalisation

Ruth Rouvier
Elder speakers are generally seen as resources for language revitalisation and reclamation (LR). However, it is less common to consider how elder speakers themselves can benefit from the LR process, and the language needs of elder speakers are rarely prioritised in the design of LR efforts. I argue that the role of elder speakers in LR is much greater and more complicated than that of ‘resources’ to the process, and that the needs of elder...

Resisting rhetorics of language endangerment: Reclamation through Indigenous language survivance

Jenny L. Davis
Hill (2002) (and the robust discussions it inspired) demonstrated the importance of looking carefully at the rhetorics used by academics when discussing Indigenous and endangered languages. Fifteen years later this still remains a subject of concern. In this article I examine how three related strategies are increasingly employed in both academic and public domains: Linguistic extraction is the process of discussing languages and language reclamation movements removed from the personal lives, communicative practices, and embodied...

Language documentation and language policy

Julia Sallabank
Language policy is any decision that is made about language. Policies may be conscious or unconscious, explicit or implicit: for example, state education policy may not mention language at all, but may assume that the medium of education is the national language. Language policy can be planned or unplanned, but is no less a policy for being unthinking ... Language policy can be formulated and implemented at any level: for example, some language decisions might...

LDD 8 Table of contents

Imogen Gunn & Mark Turin
Language Documentation and Description, Vol. 8 (2010): Special Issue on Oral Literature and Language Endangerment

Social change and language revitalization in the Isle of Man: a post-materialist perspective

Gary N. Wilson
In an effort to develop a deeper understanding of the impact that social changes such as those described by the literature on post-materialism are having on the process of language revitalization, this article will examine the changing fortunes of Manx Gaelic, the indigenous language of the Isle of Man, a small island located in north-western Europe. During the past four decades, the island has undergone a significant economic transition away from a traditional economy based...

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