Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 3, no. 1 (2009)


Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawai‘i’s Digital Ethnographic Archive
Emily E. Albarillo and Nick Thieberger, 1-14

The University of Hawai‘i’s Kaipuleohone Digital Ethnographic Archive was created in 2008 as part of the ongoing language documentation initiative of the Department of Linguistics. The archive is a repository for linguistic and ethnographic data gathered by linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and others. Over the past year, the archive has grown from idea to reality, due to the hard work of faculty and students, as well as support from inside and outside the Department. This paper will outline the context for digital archiving and provide an overview of the development of Kaipuleohone, examining both concrete and theoretical issues that have been addressed along the way. The creation of the archive has not been problem-free and the archive itself is an ongoing process rather than a finished product. We hope that this paper will be useful to scholars and language workers in other areas who are considering setting up their own digital archive.

Research Models, Community Engagement, and Linguistic Fieldwork: Reflections on Working within Canadian Indigenous Communities
Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, 15-50

This paper reflects on different research models in linguistic fieldwork and on different levels of engagement in and with language-speaking communities, focusing on the Canadian context. I begin by examining a linguist-focused model of research: this is language research conducted by linguists, for linguists; the language-speaking community’s participation is limited mostly to being the source of fluent speakers, and the level of engagement in the community by a linguist is relatively small. I then consider models that involve more engaged and collaborative research, and define the Community-Based Language Research model which allows for the production of knowledge on a language that is constructed for, with, and by community members, and that is therefore not primarily for or by linguists. In CBLR, linguists are actively engaged partners working collaboratively with language communities. Collaborative models of research seem to be closest in spirit to models advocated by Indigenous groups in Canada and elsewhere. I reflect here on (1) why one might choose to work within a collaborative research model, and (2) what some of the challenges are that linguists face when they conduct research collaboratively. In a broad sense the purpose of this paper is to think through some questions that an “outsider” linguist might face when undertaking linguistic research in an Indigenous community today.

Using Toolbox with Media Files
Andrew Margetts, 51-86

This article focuses on our documentation project’s use of Toolbox with media files, i.e., the source audio/video material that our transcripts are based on: why we set things up the way we do, and how. The process begins with an appropriate media file. This is marked up in Transcriber to produce a series of time-aligned annotations containing transcripts and speaker names, which correspond to intonation units in the recording. The resulting file is converted to a text format that can be used natively in Toolbox and easily imported into ELAN. The article also covers techniques for managing and querying the resulting data, both within Toolbox and with spreadsheets and relational databases. Further, it discusses some other language-oriented programs (especially Transcriber and ELAN) insofar as they affect our use of Toolbox. When Toolbox is used in close conjunction with source media files, it becomes particularly powerful. Some common tasks become easier, and new types of enquiry are possible. This is largely the result of Toolbox’s ability to play discrete segments from a sound file. There is no single established methodology for creating such a conjunction, and there are a multitude of possibilities for using the results. This paper offers one account.

Data Processing and its Impact on Linguistic Analysis
Anna Margetts, 87-99

The Saliba-Logea documentation project has been working toward a web-based text database with text-audio linkage and searchable annotations. In this article, I discuss the impact that the nature of data processing can have on linguistic analysis, and I demonstrate this on the basis of two research topics: the positioning of Postpositional Phrases and the distribution of plural markers. Saliba-Logea PPs can be ambiguous as to whether they belong to the preceding or following clause. To investigate whether there is a correlation between a PP’s position and its semantic role, text-only transcriptions turn out to be insufficient. The second question relates to the Saliba-Logea plural suffix, which originally occurred only on nouns with human referents. However, some speakers use it in novel contexts, and in order to investigate these extended uses and who drives them, access to metadata about the speakers is required. I show that text-audio linkage can be a prerequisite for analyzing syntactic constructions and that access to metadata can have a direct effect on the linguistic analysis.

A Psycholinguistic Tool for the Assessment of Language Loss: The HALA Project
William O’Grady, Amy J. Schafer, Jawee Perla, On-Soon Lee, and Julia Wieting, 100-112

A major obstacle to the early diagnosis of language loss and to the assessment of language maintenance efforts is the absence of an easy-to-use psycholinguistic measure of language strength. In this paper, we describe and discuss a body-part naming task being developed as part of the Hawai‘i Assessment of Language Access (HALA) project. This task, like the others in the HALA inventory, exploits the fact that the speed with which bilingual speakers access lexical items and structure-building operations in their two languages offers a sensitive measure of relative language strength. In a pilot study conducted with Korean-English bilinguals, we were able to establish a strong correlation between language strength and naming times even in highly fluent bilingual speakers, in support of the central assumption underlying the HALA tests. We discuss the implications of this finding for the broader study of language strength as well as for the practical problems associated with work on language loss, maintenance, and revitalization.


Fieldwork and Field Methods in Linguistics
Paul Newman, 113–125

Technology Review

Review of Final Cut Pro
Reviewed by: Felicity Meakins, 126–131

Book Review

Review of Catching Language: The standing challenge of grammar writing
Reviewed by: Angela Terrill, 132–137


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