SOAS University of London

Documenting Languages

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