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Department of Linguistics

Applied Language Documentation and Description

Course Code:
15PLIH024
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 1
Linguists studying a language, especially an endangered language, are often called upon to assist the local community in a wide range of aspects in applied language matters such as developing an orthography for an unwritten language, making a dictionary, developing and evaluating a language program, helping to articulate language policy, and producing multimedia and electronic publications. This course introduces students to these practical issues, and critically examines issues and problems work in this area raises. Examples will be drawn from successes and failures in applications of linguistic techniques to practical language problems, including CD-ROMs and web-based publication.

Prerequisites

General Linguistics

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

Linguists studying a language, especially an endangered language, are often called upon to assist the local community in a wide range of aspects in applied language matters such as developing an orthography for an unwritten language, making a dictionary, developing and evaluating a language program, helping to articulate language policy, or producing language learning materials (including multimedia). This course introduces students to these practical issues, and critically examines issues and problems work in this area raises. Examples will be drawn from successes and failures in applications of linguistic techniques to practical language problems, including CD-ROMs and web-based publications.

Workload

This course is taught over 10 week with a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial per week.

Scope and syllabus

  1. "Documentation vs. description", "Why document and describe endangered languages and for whom"
  2. Community involvement; the collaborative approach
  3. Orthography development
  4. Lexicography and dictionary making (including multimedia)
  5. Texts and translation
  6. Project planning, grant applications
  7. Communicating about our work
  8. Language change in language endangerment
  9. Language planning, language revitalisation and revival (overview – Field Linguistics pathway students will not do LSR)
  10. Language learning and teaching (including multimedia)

Method of assessment

This course is examined by coursework only.  An essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on day 5, after reading week in the term the course is taught (20%); an essay of 1,500 words to be submitted at the end of week 9 in the term in which the course is taught (20%); an essay of 3,500 words to be submitted at the end of week 1 in the term after which the course is taught (60%).

Suggested reading

Preliminary reading

Our own journal Language Documentation and Description contains a wealth of useful articles. Copies are available in the library. Students get a discount via the HRELP website www.hrelp.org, which has a wealth of resources too. Vol. 7 is a useful introduction for students.
Austin, Peter K. (ed.) 2010. Language Documentation and Description Volume 7. Special issue: Lectures in Language Documentation and Description. London: SOAS.
Austin, P.K. and Sallabank, J. eds. (2011)  Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. SOAS library A409 /750453, E-book available (login needed from off campus): http://lib.soas.ac.uk/search/?searchtype=a&searcharg=sallabank&SORT=D&Submit=Search
Crowley, Terry. 2007. Field Linguistics: A Beginner's Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978019921370 (readable and accessible, with good pointers for further reading) SOAS library A410.723 /982702, A410.723 /982703      
Dorian, Nancy C. (ed.) 1989. Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. SOAS library A417 /576612, A417 /928604, A417 /928605, A417 /928618   
Evans, Nicholas. 2010. Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Gippert, Jost, Nikolaus Himmelmann and Ulrike Mosel (eds) 2006. Essentials of Language Documentation. Berlin: Mouton. pp 67-86. SOAS library A025.0641/993184, A025.0641/994101,  A025.0641/724328, A025.0641/724376,  A025.0641/724377   
See http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de/ld/ for supplementary resources.
Grenoble, Lenore A., and Whaley, Lindsay J. (eds.) 1998. Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. SOAS library A417 /751880, A417 /916408      
Harrison, K. David. 2007. When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. SOAS library A417 /994030      (readable and accessible)
Nettle, Daniel and Suzanne Romaine 2000 Vanishing Voices. Oxford: OUP. (readable and accessible, with good pointers) SOAS library A417 /811017, A417/844753, A417 /725032      

Week 1. What is language documentation?

Required
Hale, Ken, Yamamoto, Akira, Krauss, Michael, Ladefoged, Peter, and Watahomigie, Lucille. 1992. Endangered Languages. Language 68:1- 42.
Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 1998. Documentary and descriptive linguistics, Linguistics 36(1): 161-95.

Both of these seminal papers are available via the SOAS library's electronic journals collection: http://www.soas.ac.uk/library/resources/ejournals/.  You can access this both from SOAS and from anywhere using your SOAS ID and password.  

Woodbury, A. ‘Language documentation’ from the Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages (Austin, P.K. and Sallabank, J. eds. 2011) – SOAS library A409 /750453.

I have uploaded these three initial readings to Moodle.

2 Project planning, fieldwork, corpus construction and management and archiving, grant applications.

Required
Grinevald, C. 2007. Linguistic fieldwork with speakers of endangered languages, in Miyaoka, Osahito, Sakiyama, Osamu, and Krauss, Michael E. eds. The Vanishing Languages of the Pacific Rim. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 35-76.

Recommended
Bowern, Claire. 2011; Planning a Language Documentation Project. In Austin, Peter K. and Sallabank, Julia (eds): Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Conathan, Lisa. 2011. Archiving and Language Documentation. In Austin, Peter K. and Sallabank, Julia (eds): Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. E-book in SOAS library

ELDP grant application guidelines (http://www.hrelp.org/grants/apply)
Other grant guidelines e.g. Foundation for Endangered Languages, Endangered Languages Fund, National Science Foundation (USA), DOBES (Germany), British Academy  - search online

3 Language vitality; language contact, variation and change in language endangerment

Required
UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages. 2003. Language Vitality and Endangerment: By way of introduction. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/endangered-languages/language-vitality/
Lewis, M. P. and G. Simons 2010. Assessing endangerment: expanding Fishman’s GIDS. Revue Roumaine de Linguistique/Romanian Review of Linguistics 2:103–20.
Palosaari, Naomi and Lyle Campbell. 2011. Structural Aspects of Language Endangerment. In Austin, Peter K. and Sallabank, Julia (eds): Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch 5

Recommended
O'Shannessy, Carmel. 2011. Language Contact and Change in Endangered Languages. In Austin, Peter K. and Sallabank, Julia (eds): Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ch 6
Bourhis, Richard, Giles, Howard, and Rosenthal, D. 1981. Notes on the construction of a subjective vitality questionnaire for ethnolinguistic groups. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 2:145-155.
Dorian, Nancy C. ed. 1989. Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A417/576612; A417/928604; A417/928618
Dorian, Nancy. 1994. Purism vs Compromise in language revitalization and language revival. Language in Society 23:479-494. (electronic journal)

4 Orthography development

Required
Hinton, Leanne. 2001. New Writing Systems in Hinton, Leanne, and Hale, Ken eds. 2002. The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 239-250. SOAS library, L A417 /841513 (outsize section)

Recommended
Olson, David R. and Nancy Torrance. 2001. Ch.1: ‘Conceptualizing literacy’ in Olson, David R. and Nancy Torrance. (eds) The Making of Literate Societies. Blackwell. SOAS library A302.2244 /950625, A302.2244 /950626, A302.2244 /950627, A302.2244 /950628
Bielenberg, Brian. 1999. Indigenous language codification: cultural effects. In Jon Reyhner et al. (ed.): Revitalizing Indigenous Languages, Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University (pp. 103-112). http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/RIL_8.html
Boerger, Brenda H. 2007. Natqgu Literacy. Language Documentation and Conservation Vol. 1, no. 2: pp.126-153. http://hdl.handle.net/10125/1601
Coulmas, Florian. 2003. Writing systems: an introduction to their linguistic analysis. Cambridge University Press SOAS library A411 /950699,  A411 /950700, A411 /950701, A411 /950702      
Grenoble, Lenore A., and Whaley, Lindsay J. 2006. Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ch’s 5&6  A409/937228; A409 /725138  
Luepke, F. 2011. Orthography development. In the Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages (Austin, P.K. and Sallabank, J. eds. 2011), ch 16 – SOAS library http://lib.soas.ac.uk/search/?searchtype=a&searcharg=sallabank&SORT=D&Submit=Search

5 Lexicography and dictionary making

Required
Mosel, Ulrike, 2004. Dictionary making in endangered speech communities. In: Peter Austin (ed.) Language documentation and description, Vol. 2, Endangered Languages Project. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 39-54. SOAS library Per 1 /656387

Recommended
Frawley, William, Kenneth C. Hill and Pamela Munro. 2002. Making Dictionaries: Preserving Indigenous Languages of the Americas. University of California Press. Introduction (pp. 1-22), ch’s 6, 7, 10, 12-14. SOAS library A497 /982704      
Corris, Miriam, Christopher Manning, Susan Poetsch and Jane Simpson. 2002. Dictionaries and endangered languages. In Bradley, David, and Bradley, Maya eds. Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance: An Active Approach. London: Routledge. Ch 19, pp. 329-347. SOAS library A417/722977
Atkins, B. T. Sue and Michael Rundell. 2008. The Oxford Guide to Practical Lexicography. Oxford University Press. SOAS library A413.028 /983529,  A413.028 /983530      

6 Texts and translation

Required
Evans, Nicholas and Hans-Juergen Sasse. 2006. ‘Searching for meaning in the Library of Babel: field semantics and problems of digital archiving’ Language Documentation and Description vol. 4: 58-99. This volume includes several other useful articles on translation, ethics and literacy. The paper is available online at http://www.hrelp.org/events/workshops/meaningtranslation/evanssasse.pdf

Recommended
Hymes, Virginia. Warm Springs Sahaptin Narrative. In Sherzer, Joel and Woodbury, Anthony (eds). 1987. Native American Discourse: Poetics and Rhetoric. Cambridge University Press, pp. 62-101 SOAS library A497 /575704  
Hymes, Dell. 1994. Ethnopoetics, Oral-Formulaic Theory, and Editing Texts.Oral Tradition 9/2: 330-370. Available online at http://journal.oraltradition.org/files/articles/9ii/9_hymes.pdf, accessed 12.2.09
Rubel, P. G. and A. Rosman (2003) Translating Cultures: Perspectives on Translation and Anthropology. Oxford: Berg. SOAS library A306 /831860 or A306 /918160  

7 Collaboration, ethics and interdisciplinarity

Required
Grinevald, Colette. 2003. Speakers and documentation of endangered languages. In Language Documentation and Description, ed. Peter K. Austin, 52-72. London: Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.
Dobrin, Lise. 2008. Eliciting the Linguist. Language 84/2: 300-324. SOAS Library Per 1 /24410
Dwyer, Arianne. 2006. Ethics and practicalities of cooperative fieldwork and analysis, in Gippert, Jost, Nikolaus Himmelmann and Ulrike Mosel (eds) Essentials of Language Documentation. Berlin: Mouton. pp 67-86. SOAS library A025.0641/993184, A025.0641/994101,  A025.0641/724328, A025.0641/724376,  A025.0641/724377   

Recommended
Dauenhauer, Nora Marks, and Dauenhauer, Richard. 1998. Technical, emotional, and ideological issues in reversing language shift: examples from Southeast Alaska. In Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response, eds. Lenore A.  Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley, 57-98. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (first half);
Dorian, N. 1999. Linguistic and Ethnographic Fieldwork. In Fishman, J. (ed) Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity. Oxford: OUP.
Grenoble, Lenore A., and Furbee, Louanna N. eds. 2010. Language Documentation: Practice and Values. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Mosel, Ulrike, 2006. Fieldwork and  community language work,  in Jost Gippert, Nikolaus Himmelmann and Ulrike Mosel (eds) Essentials of Language Documentation. Berlin: Mouton. pp 67-86. SOAS library A025.0641/993184, A025.0641/994101,  A025.0641/724328, A025.0641/724376,  A025.0641/724377   
Newman, Paul. 2003. The endangered languages issue as a hopeless cause. In Language Death and Language Maintenance: Theoretical, Practical and Descriptive Aproaches, eds. Mark Janse and Sijmen Tol, 1-14. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Ostler, Nicholas ed. 1998. Endangered Languages: What Role for the Specialist? Papers from the Second Foundation for Endangered Languages conference. Bath: Foundation for Endangered Languages.
Yamada, Racquel-María 2007. Collaborative Linguistic Fieldwork: Practical Application of the Empowerment Model. Language Documentation and Conservation 1:257-282.

8 Language policy, planning, support and revitalisation

Hinton, Leanne. 2001. Language Revitalisation: An Overview. In Hinton, Leanne, and Hale, Ken eds. The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. San Diego: Academic Press. SOAS library, L A417 /841513 (outsize section)
Sallabank, Julia. 2010. Language Documentation and Language Policy, in Austin, Peter K. (ed.) 2010. Language Documentation and Description Volume 7. Special issue: Lectures in Language Documentation and Description. London: SOAS.

Recommended
Amery, Rob. 2009. Phoenix or Relic? Documentation of Languages with Revitalization in Mind. Language Documentation and Conservation 3/2: 138–148. Available online http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/December2009/  (This issue includes a number of other useful papers and reviews)
Grenoble, Lenore A., and Whaley, Lindsay J. 2006. Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Fishman, Joshua A. ed. 1991. Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. SOAS library A417 /623443 and A417 /916369  
Fishman, Joshua A. ed. 2001. Can Threatened Languages be Saved? Reversing Language Shift, Revisited: A 21st Century Perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. SOAS library A417 /833718
Hinton, Leanne, and Hale, Ken eds. 2001. The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. San Diego: Academic Press. SOAS library, L A417 /841513 (outsize section)
Romaine, Suzanne. 2002. The Impact of Language Policy on Endangered Languages. International Journal on Multicultural Societies., 4/2: 194-212. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol4/issue2/art3
Sallabank, Julia. 2012. From language documentation to language planning: not necessarily a direct route. In Potentials of Language Documentation: Methods, Analyses, and Utilization, eds. Frank Seifart et al., 118-125. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/4525/16sallabank.pdf

9 Language learning and teaching

Hinton, Leanne. 2001. ‘Teaching Methods’ in Hinton, Leanne, and Hale, Ken eds. 2002. The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 179-189 SOAS library, L A417 /841513 (outsize section)
Hinton, Leanne. 2003. ‘How to teach when the teacher isn't fluent’ in Nurturing Native Languages, eds. John Reyhner, Octaviana Trujillo, Roberto Luis Carrasco and Louise Lockard, pp. 79-92. Flagstaff, Arizona: Northern Arizona University. Free online at http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/NNL/

Recommended
Dauenhauer, Nora Marks, and Dauenhauer, Richard. 1998. Technical, emotional, and ideological issues in reversing language shift: examples from Southeast Alaska. In Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response, eds. Lenore A.  Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley, 57-98. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2nd half);
Hinton, Leanne, Vera, Matt, and Steele, Nancy 2002. How to keep your language alive: a commonsense approach to one-on-one language learning. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books. A418.1 /982847  
Lightbown, Patsy and Spada, Nina. 2006. How Languages are Learned (3rd edn).  Oxford University Press. SOAS library has 2 copies A401.93 / A401.93 /983531; Institute of Education Library has 4 copies, Mar Jagf LIG
Teaching Indigenous Languages website http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/TIL.html, especially: Cantoni, Gina P. 1999. ‘Using TPR-Storytelling to Develop Fluency and Literacy in Native American Languages’ in Revitalizing Indigenous Languages, eds. Jon Reyhner, Gina Cantoni, Robert N. St. Clair, and Evangeline Parsons Yazzie (pp. 53-58). Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University. Free online at http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/RIL_5.html

10 Communicating about our work

Required
Dobrin, L., P. Austin and D. Nathan. 2007. Dying to be counted: the commodification of endangered languages in documentary linguistics. Language Documentation and Description Volume 6, 2009: 37-52. London: SOAS.
Hill, J. H. 2002. ‘Expert Rhetorics’ in advocacy for endangered languages: who Is listening, and what do they hear? Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 12: 119-133. (electronic version available through SOAS library on site)

Recommended
Rivenburgh, Nancy. 2004. Do we really understand the issue? Media coverage of endangered languages. Presentation at international conference on Communication and Cultural Diversity at the Barcelona Universal Forum of Cultures, May 25, 2004 in Barcelona, Spain. http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/page1512.htm
Are dying langauges worth saving? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11304255
Various endangered language websites, e.g.
The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project http://www.hrelp.org/
UNESCO Safeguarding endangered languages website http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/endangered-languages/
SIL http://www-01.sil.org/sociolx/ndg-lg-home.html
Sorosoro http://www.sorosoro.org/en/
Endangered Languages Fund http://www.endangeredlanguagefund.org/
Linguistic Society of America http://www.linguisticsociety.org/resource/endangered-languages
Alliance for Linguistic Diversity http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/
Enduring Voices http://travel.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/enduring-voices/
Global Language Hotspots http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/langhotspots/intro.html
Endangered Language Alliance http://elalliance.org/
Foundation for Endangered Languages http://www.ogmios.org/
The Language Documentation Crowd http://www.thelanguagedocumentationcrowd.org/#home
Endangered Languages interactive e-learning module (C. Odé) http://www.endangeredlanguages.nl/uknwostart640480c.html