Over the last decade, a new field of study called Language Documentation, or Documentary Linguistics, has emerged. This field focuses on the methods, tools and theoretical bases for compiling a representative and lasting record of endangered languages that can be used both by researchers and by community members. It also focuses on supporting speakers of these languages in their desire to maintain them. Fuelled by developments in information and media technologies and the need for preservation and dissemination of language materials (including audio and video recordings, annotations and visual material), the field has brought together documenters, linguists, language communities and language archives, placing the roles, needs and rights of language speakers and their communities at their centre.
There is a large and growing literature on the topic of Language documentation; see below for selected references and handouts.
Selected online references and handouts
- Documentary and descriptive linguistics (Nicolaus P. Himmelmann)
- Defining Documentary Linguistics (Anthony Woodbury 2003)
- Language Documentation and Archiving, or How to Build a Better Corpus (Heidi Johnson)
- Defining language documentation (Peter Austin)
- E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation
- Linguistics 191a: Documenting Languages Handout #2: Documentary Linguistics
- The Rise of Documentary Linguistics and a New Kind of Corpus (Gary F. Simons)
- What is language documentation? (HRELP)
- Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity - especially its mailing list (subscribe)
- Language Documentation and Conservation - an online journal devoted to topics including goals and methods of language documentation, data management, and fieldwork