Interview: Language Documentation & Conservation editor Nick Thieberger

In the fall of 2005, linguistics professor Kenneth L. Rehg and UHM Foreign Language Resource Center director Richard Schmidt planned a meeting with the goal of advancing language documentation and associated activities as a legitimate subfield of linguistics. In the spring, 28 linguists gathered at the East-West Center from as far east as Japan and as far west as New England, and as far south as Australia. As a result of this meeting, the journal Language Documentation & Conservation launched in June 2007.

From the outset, LD&C has been an open access journal because, as founding editor Rehg writes, “In many communities where vulnerable and endangered languages are spoken, any amount charged for a subscription is too much.” In the past decade, the journal has provided 340 articles comprising 10 volumes, totaling more than 661,000 downloads. Below, current editor Nick Thieberger discusses the benefits of being an online-only journal and what’s in store for LD&C as it enters its second decade.

You’ve been with Language Documentation & Conservation since the beginning, starting as the Technology Review Editor and then taking over from founding editor Kenneth L. Rehg in 2011. Can you share with us how LD&C got started and your current work leading the journal?

For background on how LD&C began, please see the recent article by our founding editor. The role of editor involves coordinating production, doing initial assessments of contributions (sometimes with the help of the Editorial Board), finding reviewers, maintaining the website, and updating the Facebook page.

Dr. Nick Thieberger (R) plays audio of the Koita language near Port Moresby to Koitabuan E’ava Geita (L). Picture: Rachel Nordlinger. This image was first published in the Pursuit article, “Islands of language enter virtual reality.”

In Prof. Rehg’s “The Founding of Language Documentation & Conservation” (Vol. 11), he notes that one of the goals of the journal was to “focus … on topics that do not readily find a home in other journals.” How is LD&C unique from other journals in your field?

Issues around language documentation and revitalization have become increasingly relevant in the past decade or two. With the increased focus on language endangerment, more attention is being paid to creating good records of as many different performances and speakers as possible. Performance includes narratives, dialogues, songs, multi-participant events as well as good old-fashioned elicitation.

The journal Language Documentation & Conservation provides a venue for exploring new methods in creating language records and in using records for language revitalization. It is unique in its scope and in the quality of its contributions (peer-reviewed since the first issue in 2007). A topic of particular current interest is the ‘collection overview’ which presents a guide to a set of primary language records, allowing readers to identify its extent and the context in which it was created. We hope that such overviews will become more common in our discipline.

LD&C was designed to be an electronic-only, open access journal, which was uncommon when you launched the journal in 2006. Why was this important then, and why does it remain relevant now?

LD&C has been committed to providing open access from its inception. As so many of the languages that are the focus of language documentation efforts are spoken in small communities, we want to ensure that the research we publish is fully accessible to anyone with Internet access. We ensure longevity of access by lodging all LD&C content in the University of Hawai‘i’s digital repository, linked from our website.

Online publication allows us to produce articles quickly and to embed media to illustrate examples in the papers. It also allows authors to add material incrementally over time.

We encourage subscription, which is free, so that readers can be informed twice a year about new content, which we upload four times a year.

LD&C Editor Nick Thieberger took this photo at the University of Hawai‘i and posted it on the journal’s Facebook page.

Where is LD&C going next?

We have published a couple of volumes that allow incremental addition of new material over time, taking advantage of the non-book format of online publication. SCOPIC is a volume that will provide a series of papers in the next few years. In the pipeline now is a grammar that will be published incrementally in what would have been called fascicles in the past.

With 11 volumes and 13 special publications now available, is there an issue that you’re particularly proud of?

With 340 articles produced it is hard to choose among them. However, the most popular article has been download over 60,000 times (see the statistics here).

Do you have any advice for academics interested in submitting to LD&C?

Take advantage of the possibilities offered by online publishing. Include media as examples of phenomena discussed in the article, include corpus materials that allow readers to check your analysis and to potentially carry out their own reanalysis of the data.



About the Journal

Language Documentation & Conservation is a free open-access journal on issues related to language documentation and revitalization. The journal is sponsored by the National Foreign Language Resource Center.

Submissions

Instructions for submission can be found on the Language Documentation & Conservation‘s website.

The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 29 no. 2 (2017)

Featured art in the new issue of The Contemporary Pacific by Selwyn Muru: On 9 June 2017, 135 years after government troops invaded and violently decimated the Māori settlement of Parihaka (and at the time this issue of the journal was about to go to press), a Crown apology was finally offered to the people of Parihaka. The gesture is more than symbolic: an additional deed of reconciliation, legacy statement, ongoing relationship agreements with local and national government, a development fund, and legislation are being put in place to ensure that the Crown’s commitment is legally binding. Parihaka Papakainga Trust Chair Puna Wano-Bryant’s declaration of a “new dawn” echoed sentiments expressed at the time of Parihaka’s founding. The cover image depicts two important prophets, peacemakers, and leaders of nonviolent resistance in this story: Te Whiti o Rongomai, who helped establish Parihaka with Tohu Kakahi, and their colleague Riwha Titokowaru, who was blind in one eye, and who was arguably “the best general New Zealand has ever produced” (James Belich, in Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand).

This issue of The Contemporary Pacific features a dialogue, “Losing Oceania to the Pacific and the World,” political reviews, the work of artist Selwyn Muru, book and media reviews, and the following articles:

  • Climate Change and the Imagining of Migration: Emerging Discourses on Kiribati’s Land Purchase in Fiji by Elfriede Hermann and Wolfgang Kempf
  • Charting Pacific (Studies) Waters: Evidence of Teaching and Learning by Teresia K. Teaiwa

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Biography Vol. 40 No. 1 (Winter 2017)

Jaya Daronde, Relationship, oil on canvas. From Caste Life Narratives, Visual Representation, and Protected Ignorance in this issue. Copyright and reproduced courtesy of the artist.

This special issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly focuses on Caste and Life Narratives. From the guest editors:

Life narratives ranging from autobiographies and biographies to blogs and pictorial art have historically played a vital role in both the affirmation as well as interrogation of caste identities. However, serious study of life narratives in relationship to caste is still relatively underdeveloped. The scholarship on caste (or the varna-jati complex) is vast, as is the study of life narratives as a genre—it is the conjunction of the two that especially merits sustained scrutiny. The study of caste is animated by a Critical Caste Studies that takes its bearing from Dalit Studies, a lively area of scholarly endeavor in recent years, in order to explore diverse phenomena within the varna-jati complex. The scrutiny of life narratives in conjunction with caste promises to expand the scope of inquiry into life narratives by bringing new cultural contexts into the discussion and by enabling the formulation of new theoretical questions of genre. Such an investigation contributes to the study of caste by directing attention to fresh archives and by making available for analysis in powerful ways questions of identity. The critical work of studying caste in conjunction with life narratives is most pertinent with regard to India but includes the South Asian diaspora as well as other countries such as Japan.

— Editors’ Introduction: “My Birth Is My Fatal Accident”: Introduction to Caste and Life Narratives by S. Shankar and Charu Gupta

Literary Lives

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Trans-Humanities, vol. 10, no. 3 (2017)

Trans-Humanities volume 10 issue 2 features the following scholarly works:

Articles

SF, An Aesthetics of Thought Experiments Exploring Otherness: With a Focus on Stanislaw Lem’s SF Solaris (1961)
by Do-Hoon Bok

Connection Between the Worlds Reorganized into New Media: Focused on Dramaworld
by Soohwan Kang

An Institutional Approach to the Reception of Nam June Paik in French Art Museums During the 1970s: Contexts, Characteristics, and Meanings
by Ilmin Nah

Temporary Autonomous Zone and a Subject Outside the Law
by Jongju Park

A Study on the Rights of Returnees and the Return of Soviet Koreans in Sakhalin Through Difficulty at Remaining Life Written by In Muhak
by Namseok Kim

Reading Lord Jim Based on Slavoj Žižek’s “Fantasy” and “Spectre”
by Sunhee Jung


Find the full text of the issue at Project MUSE


About the Journal

Trans-Humanities publishes materials that expand humanities research to include contemporary cultural and sociological phenomena and to open an academic and discursive space for trans-boundary and multi or trans-disciplinary approaches and communications, not just in the humanities but also the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the arts. Sign up to receive free email alerts, when new content posted.

Subscriptions

Subscribe online at: www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/t-trans-humanities.

Philosophy East and West, vol. 67, no. 3 (July 2017)

This quarter’s journal of comparative Eastern and Western philosophies includes the following scholarly works:

Articles

The Strong Case for Vegetarianism in Pātañjala Yoga
by Jonathan Dickstein

Heidegger and Mullā Sadrā on the Meaning of Metaphysics
by Muhammad U. Faruque

The Prescriptive Dialectics of Li 禮 and Yi 義 in the Lienü zhuan 列女傳
by César Guarde-Pazo

Sūksma and the Clear and Distinct Light: The Path to Epistemic Enhancement in Yogic and Cartesian Meditation
by Gary Jaeger

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Korean Studies, vol. 41 (2017)

Map of Koryŏ dynasty, from Koryŏ: An Introduction in this issue.

This year’s issue of Korean Studies includes a special section focusing on the middle kingdom Koryŏ.

Koryŏ, Korea’s middle kingdom in that it is lodged between Silla and Chosŏn, is the least studied era of Korea’s history. And yet it offers intriguing insights into Korea’s long tradition as the Koryŏ state participated actively in international events while at the same time building internal institutions in response to its own unique experiences. The collection of papers that follows introduces both these international and domestic themes, providing a nuanced understanding of both Koryŏ and Korea.

–Edward J. Shultz, Koryŏ: An Introduction

Special section

Timeline of Koryŏ dynasty in its chronological context from Koryŏ: An Introduction in this issue.

Koryŏ: An Introduction
Edward J. Shultz

Early Koryŏ Political Institutions and the International Expansion of Tang and Song Institutions
Jae Woo Park (Pak Chaeu)

Interstate Relations in East Asia and Medical Exchanges in the Late Eleventh Century and Early Twelfth Century
Oongseok Chai (Ungso˘k Ch’ae)

Koryŏ ’s Trade with the Outer World
Kang Hahn Lee (Yi Kanghan) Continue reading

China Review International, vol. 22, no. 2 (2015)

This issue of China Review International: A Journal of Reviews of Scholarly Literature in Chinese Studies opens with one feature and includes 15 reviews.

FEATURE

Herself an Autobiographer: Writing Women’s Self-Representation in the Qing (Reviewing Binbin Yang, Heroines of the Qing: Exemplary Women Tell Their Stories) Reviewed by Xu Ma

REVIEWS

Sarah Allan, The Heir and the Sage: Dynastic Legend in Early China, reviewed by Paul R. Goldin

Paul Bevan, A Modern Miscellany: Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle, and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926–1938, reviewed by Hal Swindall

Susanne Bregnbæk, Fragile Elite: The Dilemmas of China’s Top University Students, reviewed by Chongmin Yang Continue reading