SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics


Workshop Title: Documenting and preserving indigenous languages: principles, practices and tools 

SOAS, University of London and Mahidol University, Thailand
UK coordinator:  Prof Peter K. Austin
Thailand coordinator: Prof Suwilai Premsrirat
Discipline:  Linguistics
Dates and venue:  8-14 February 2015, Bangkok


Deadline for applications: 7 November 2014.

The British Council and The Thailand Research Fund have launched a new programme to encourage international research collaboration between ambitious young researchers from the UK and eighteen countries around the world. The programme, ‘British Council Researcher Links’ provides opportunities for early career researchers from the UK and Thailand to interact, learn from each other and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations.

This workshop, hosted by SOAS and Mahidol, will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in order to bring together researchers and practitioners in language documentation and description, language policy/planning and mother tongue-based multilingual education to discuss the latest developments in their research, creating a new common ground for initiatives in language documentation, revitalisation and human development. SOAS and Mahidol are committed to interdisciplinary approaches to the documentation and revitalisation of languages in Asia and throughout the world.

South-East Asia is a hotspot of linguistic diversity and endangerment, and there will be opportunities for participants to interact with speakers of endangered languages in Thailand, as well as language activists and educators. Attendees will discuss how academic researchers, educators and technical/creative resource developers can collaborate effectively with community members to promote mutual learning about existing methods and resources, and identify new ways to ensure communities have resources to pursue self-identified, multifaceted development goals. The principles, practices and tools presented will aim at making knowledge about endangered languages accessible to wider audiences: not only academics, but also community members, learners and teachers. Also to be discussed: how the results of research can be used to influence and advocate for educational policy change for sustaining languages of minority ethnolinguistic communities.

The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for sharing research expertise and networking. During the workshop early career researchers will have the opportunity to present their research in the form of a poster and to discuss this with established researchers from the UK and Thailand. There will be a focus on building up links for future collaborations and participants selected on the basis of their research potential and ability to build longer term links.

Topics to be covered in the workshop include the following:

  • how researchers and resource developers can support communities to sustain their linguistic ecologies
  • language revitalisation, personal/community identity and sustainable human development
  • production of culturally and pedagogically appropriate linguistic and digital multimedia resources for language valorization, supporting learners and teachers
  • techniques in digital data collection, management, dissemination and preservation
  •  preservation of traditional knowledge and indigenous paradigms of teaching/learning for mother tongue-based multilingual education
  • ethnolinguistic identity, reconciliation and peace building

A fieldtrip to an ethnolinguistic minority community is planned.

The British Council and The Thailand Research Fund will cover the costs related to participation to the workshop, including: return travel (both international and local), accommodation and meals. Costs for the visa will be covered; however participants will be responsible for making all the necessary arrangements. Participants are encouraged to purchase an adequate travel and medical insurance. The British Council accepts no responsibility for any problems which may occur when the participants are in-country.

UK Application and Deadline:

The application form (see link above right) must be fully completed and submitted by the 7th November 2014 to: (for UK applicants only).

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Applications must be submitted using the Researcher Links application form
  • Applications must be submitted before the above deadline
  • Participants must be early career researchers: Early Career Researchers are defined as enrolled in or holding a PhD (or having equivalent research experience) in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Anthropology, Education, Human Geography or a related field, and having up to 10 years post-PhD research experience. They are equivalent to the ‘Recognised Researcher’ category in the EU framework for researchers’ careers.
  • Participants must have an academic affiliation (either a post, researcher association, fellowship or PhD enrolment) at a recognised research institution in the UK.
Quality Assessment
  • Experience and relevance of the applicant’s research area to the workshop
  • Motivation and contribution to the aims of the workshop
  • Description of the long term impact expected through participation in the workshop
  •  Ability to disseminate workshop outcomes
Selection Procedure:
  • Eligibility check: UK-based applicants should hold a PhD in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Anthropology, Education, Human Geography or a related field with an interest in languages of the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Quality assessment: evidence of top quality research should be presented, eg. publications in peer reviewed journals, presentations at refereed conferences or equivalent
Notification of results:

Applicants will be notified by email 6 weeks prior to the workshop.

Equal Opportunities

The British Council is committed to equal opportunities and diversity in all its activities and this includes the avoidance of any bias in the assessment of applications due to gender, disability, racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or religious belief.  Participants’ selection undertaken by workshop organisers must not contravene this policy.  Reasonable extra support to enable participation of early career researchers with special needs will be given.