Category Archives: Language Documentation

Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 11 new uploads (October 2017)

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New uploads have been added to the latest edition of the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s free and open-access journal Language Documentation & Conservation volume 11.

Articles

Linguistic Vitality, Endangerment, and Resilience by Gerald Roche

Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara) language description and documentation: a guide to the deposited collection and associated materials by Gabriela Caballero

Losing a Vital Voice: Grief and Language Work by Racquel-María Sapién & Tim Thornes

Liinnaqumalghiit: A web-based tool for addressing orthographic transparency in St. Lawrence Island/Central Siberian Yupik by Lane Schwartz & Emily Chen


Find the full text of the issue at the LD&C webpage


About the Journal

Language Documentation & Conservation is a free open-access journal on issues related to language documentation and revitalization.

Submissions

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

Subscribe

Although Language Documentation & Conservation is a free online journal, subscribers are notified by email when a new issue is released. Subscribe to LD&C here.

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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.

Language Documentation & Conservation, SP12 and SP13

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The National Foreign Language Resource Center’s free and open-access journal Language Documentation & Conservation is proud to release two special publications:

Special Publication 12: The Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC)

The Social Cognition Parallax Interview Corpus (SCOPIC) provides naturalistic but cross-linguistically-matched corpus data with enriched annotations of grammatical categories relevant to social cognition. By ‘parallax corpus’ we mean ‘broadly comparable formulations resulting from a comparable task’, to avoid the implications of ‘parallel corpus’ that there will be exact semantic equivalence across languages. The problem with that, from a semantic typologist’s point of view, is that it can only be achieved by privileging the semantic structure of the source language in the translations, and that it prevents us from studying the fundamental question of how languages – or the formulation practices of speech communities – bias the expression of particular categories in language-specific ways.

Special Publication 13: Documenting Variation in Endangered Languages

The papers in this special publication are the result of presentations and follow-up dialogue on emergent and alternative methods to documenting variation in endangered, minority, or otherwise under-represented languages. Recent decades have seen a burgeoning interest in many aspects of language documentation and field linguistics and there is also a great deal of material dealing with language variation in major languages.
In contrast, intersections of language variation in endangered and minority languages are still few in number. Yet examples of those few cases published on the intersection of language documentation and language variation reveal exciting potentials for linguistics as a discipline, challenging and supporting classical models, creating new models and predictions.
From January 7-10 2016 at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Washington, D.C., the Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) held a symposium that included oral presentations that articulate general issues, specific examples and potential consequences of variationist methods applied in language documentation scenarios, followed by a panel discussion. This present collection includes seven contributions that grew out of this symposium and from subsequent conversations and interaction between the contributors and organizers.

 

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Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 11 (2017)

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The latest edition of the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s free and open-access journal Language Documentation & Conservation volume 11 contains the following scholarly works:

LD&C 10th Anniversary Articles

LD&C possibilities for the next decade by Nick Thieberger

The Founding of Language Documentation & Conservation by Kenneth L. Rehg

Articles

Language Vitality among the Mako Communities of the Ventuari River by Jorge Emilio Rosés

Earbuds: A Method for Analyzing Nasality in the Field by Jesse Stewart & Martin Kohlberger

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Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 10 (2016)

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The latest edition of the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s free and open-access journal Language Documentation & Conservation volume 10 contains the following scholarly works:

Articles

Chirila: Contemporary and Historical Resources for the Indigenous Languages of Australia Claire Bowern, 1

Language Acquisition and Language Revitalization William O’Grady & Ryoko Hattori, 45

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Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 9 (2015)

June 2015: 3 new articles and 2 book reviews added to
Volume 9 
available here: http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/?p=603

Greetings from the LD&C team
http://www.nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/

On Training in Language Documentation and Capacity Building in Papua New Guinea: A Response to Bird et al.
Joseph D. Brooks, pp. 1–9

In a recent article, Bird et al. (2013) discuss a workshop held at the University of Goroka in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2012. The workshop was intended to offer a new methodological framework for language documentation and capacity building that streamlines the documentation process and accelerates the global effort to document endangered languages through machine translation and automated glossing technology developed by computer scientists. As a volunteer staff member at the workshop, in this response to Bird et al. I suggest that it did not in the end provide us with a model that should be replicated in the future. I explain how its failure to uphold fundamental commitments from a documentary linguistic and humanistic perspective can help inform future workshops and large-scale documentary efforts in PNG. Instead of experimenting with technological shortcuts that aim to reduce the role of linguists in language documentation and that construct participants as sources of data, we should implement training workshops geared toward the interests and skills of local participants who are interested in documenting their languages, and focus on building meaningful partnerships with academic institutions in PNG.
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Language Documentation & Conservation, vol. 8 (2014)

Contributions to LD&C are now published upon acceptance. Below are all the contributions accepted for volume 8 (January–December 2014).

In addition to our normal offering of excellent articles, in Volume 8 we have published three sets of themed articles: Language Documentation in the Americas edited by Keren Rice and Bruna Franchetto; The Role of Linguists in Indigenous Community Language Programs in Australia edited by John Henderson; How to Study a Tone Language edited by Steven Bird and Larry Hyman.

This volume also marks the retirement of our founding editor, Ken Rehg. It was his vision that established LD&C with resources from the NFLRC and University of Hawai’i and it has gone from strength to strength, always with the benefit of his guidance. The editorial team at LD&C wishes him a long and happy retirement

ARTICLES

Using TEI for an Endangered Language Lexical Resource: The Nxaʔamxcín Database-Dictionary Project
Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, Martin D. Holmes, and Sarah M. Kell, pp. 1–37

This paper describes the evolution of a lexical resource project for Nxaʔamxcín, an endangered Salish language, from the project’s inception in the 1990s, based on legacy materials recorded in the 1960s and 1970s, to its current form as an online database that is transformable into various print and web-based formats for varying uses. We illustrate how we are using TEI P5 for data-encoding and archiving and show that TEI is a mature, reliable, flexible standard which is a valuable tool for lexical and morphological markup and for the production of lexical resources. Lexical resource creation, as is the case with language documentation and description more generally, benefits from portability and thus from conformance to standards (Bird and Simons 2003, Thieberger 2011). This paper therefore also discusses standards harmonization, focusing on our attempt to achieve interoperability in format and terminology between our database and standards proposed for LMF, RELISH and GOLD. We show that, while it is possible to achieve interoperability, ultimately it is difficult to do so convincingly, thus raising questions about what conformance to standards means in practice.
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