Vol. 7 (2013)


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The Sociolinguistic Situation of the Manila Bay Chabacano-Speaking Communities
Marivic Lesho and Eeva Sippola, pp. 1–30

This study is an assessment of the vitality of the Manila Bay Chabacano varieties spoken in Cavite City and Ternate, Philippines. These Spanish-lexified creoles have often been described as endangered, but until now there has been no systematic description of how stable the varieties are. The evaluation of the vitality of Manila Bay Chabacano is made based on participant observation and interviews conducted in both communities over the past nine years, using the UNESCO (2003) framework. Comparison between the two varieties shows that the proportional size of the speech community, degree of urbanization, and proximity to Manila account for differences in the vitality of the creoles. In rural Ternate, Chabacano is more stable in terms of intergenerational transmission and the proportion of speakers to the overall community. In the more urban Cavite City, most speakers are of the grandparental generation, but the community is more organized in its language preservation efforts. This study sheds light on two creole varieties in need of further documentation and sociolinguistic description, as well as the status of minority languages in the Philippines. It also offers a critical assessment of a practically-oriented methodological framework and demonstrates its application in the field.

Language Management and Minority Language Maintenance in (Eastern) Indonesia: Strategic Issues
I Wayan Arka, pp. 74–105

This paper discusses strategic issues in language “management” (Spolsky 2009; Jennudd and Neustupný 1987) and its complexity in relation to the maintenance of minority languages in contemporary Indonesia. Within Indonesia it is argued that language can be managed and that it should be managed as part of a national language policy framework (among other means). This is especially pertinent in the case of threatened minority languages. The discussion focuses on how categorizing an issue as either a “threat” or an “opportunity” has affected the priorities and the motivations in strategic decisions and implementations of language policies in Indonesia. These labels have symbolic and instrumental values, and both can be potentially exploited to achieve positive outcomes for language survival. However, the complexity and uncertainty of the problems in dealing with minority languages and their speech communities call for a sophisticated interdisciplinary model of language management. The problems will be illustrated using cases from (eastern) Indonesia, showing how Categorization (Cognitive) Theory and Organisational Theory (Rosch 1978; Rosch and Mervis 1975; Dutton & Jackson 1981) are useful for conceptualizing strategic issues by decision makers at different levels—individuals, families, traditional organizations (adat), and government institutions.

The Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program Down Under: Experience and Adaptation in an Australian Context
Knut Olawsky, pp. 41–63

The Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MALLP or MAP; cf. Hinton 2001) has found worldwide attention in recent years and has been attested as a valuable instrument in language revitalisation far beyond the borders of North America. In 2009, a pilot project based on this model started for the Miriwoong language in Northwestern Australia, and has since developed into a successful and expanding strategy which could ultimately lead to a wider application on a nationwide scale. This article describes the various adaptive measures used to reflect the specific needs of the local language community and suggests that similar techniques will be useful for application in other communities. An adaptation of the MAP model in Australia may consider factors such as gender, kinship and other aspects of traditional cultural protocol, as well as some other deviations from the original model. An addition to the program which has proven useful for Miriwoong is the introduction of assessment strategies. These do not only assist in reflecting strengths and weaknesses in participants but can be essential as a tool for reporting requirements. Based on the positive outcomes of the MAP approach for the Miriwoong community, including the adjustments made, the model is recommended for application on a larger scale for other parts of Australia and perhaps beyond.

In Defense of the Lone Wolf: Collaboration in Language Documentation
James A. Crippen and Laura C. Robinson, pp. 123–135

Collaboration has become a hot topic in the field of language documentation, with many authors insisting that lone wolf research is unethical research. We take issue with the viewpoints that documentary linguists must collaborate with the community, that the linguist’s goals should be subordinate to the goals of community members, and that solo research is necessarily unethical research. Collaborating with community members in language documentation projects is not the only method of treating the community fairly and reciprocating their generosity. There will not always be community members interested in language documentation, nor will there always be community members capable of participation. Even in cases where community members are interested, capable, and willing, both the researcher and the community should be allowed to decide when, where, how, and whether to collaborate. Moreover, we suggest that the insistence on collaboration can cause guilt when collaboration is difficult, or can lead researchers into unproductive or even dangerous situations. On the other hand, we welcome collaboration if both parties retain autonomy in decision-making and both truly want to work collaboratively. There is nothing unethical about setting one’s own research agenda and conducting linguistic fieldwork alone. Lone wolf linguistics isn’t necessarily unethical linguistics.

Building the British Sign Language Corpus
Adam Schembri, Jordan Fenlon, Ramas Rentelis, Sally Reynolds, and Kearsy Cormier, pp. 136–154

This paper presents an overview of the British Sign Language Corpus Project—the first endeavor to create a machine-readable digital corpus of British Sign Language (BSL) collected from deaf signers across the United Kingdom. In the field of sign language studies, it represents a unique combination of methodology from variationist sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics. Unlike previous large-scale sign language sociolinguistic projects, the dataset is being annotated and tagged using ELAN software, given metadata descriptions, and the video data has been made accessible, with long-term efforts to make the dataset searchable on-line. This means, however, that participants must consent to having the video data of their sign language use made public. This puts at risk the authenticity of the linguistic data collected, as signers may monitor their production more carefully than usual. We discuss our attempt to minimize this problem by creating a dual-access archive.

The International Workshop on Language Preservation: An Experiment in Text Collection and Language Technology
Steven Bird, David Chiang, Friedel Frowein, Andrea L. Berez, Mark Eby, Florian Hanke, Ryan Shelby, Ashish Vaswani, and Ada Wan, pp. 155–167

With hundreds of endangered and under-documented languages, Papua New Guinea presents an enormous challenge to the documentary linguistics community. This article reports on a workshop held at the University of Goroka in May and June of 2012. The workshop aimed to collect written texts and their translations for several languages, while building local capacity through hands-on training, and improving our understanding of the appropriate use of technology. The majority of participants were mother tongue speakers who seek to preserve their languages through the preparation of written language resources.

Training Communities, Training Graduate Students: The 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop
Colleen M. Fitzgerald and Mary S. Linn, pp. 185–206

While grassroots organizations like the American Indian Language Development Institute have long shown the importance of training to indigenous language communities, an increasing emphasis on training in language documentation and revitalization is emerging in new funding initiatives, training institutes and consortia world-wide. In this current atmosphere the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop presents a case study in training in which the goals of training indigenous community members and graduate students can take place simultaneously. With the rising prominence of training models in language documentation and revitalization, and the practical dimension faced by limitations on resources like personnel and funding, the importance of satisfying multiple goals in a single training venue cannot be underestimated. Additionally, this project demonstrates how learning can take place outside of the typical, credit-bearing university class, offering flexibility to indigenous community members and filling a gap in training for graduate students that formal coursework does not provide. Four factors were essential: team selection process; mentoring; final projects by community member participants; and reflection by graduate student mentors. We outline in detail the elements of these four factors, as well as provide evidence of continued engagement in language work by participants through post-workshop activities.video data of their sign language use made public. This puts at risk the authenticity of the linguistic data collected, as signers may monitor their production more carefully than usual. We discuss our attempt to minimize this problem by creating a dual-access archive.

Reviving Siraya: A Case for Language Engineering
Alexander Adelaar, pp. 212–234

Siraya is a language once spoken in Southwest Taiwan, which is being revived. Some Siraya data is inconsistent, requiring strategies as to how it will be implemented. I discuss some of these strategies in support of the revival attempt. The following issues deserve attention: 1. Siraya phonology includes a schwa (ə), although it is ignored in the original orthography. The choice here is between keeping this orthography and ignoring schwa, or re-establishing schwa and changing the orthography. 2. Siraya had maintained part of the original Proto Austronesian voice system. However, this system was losing some voice oppositions and was being re-aligned when Siraya was still spoken. Two approaches are possible: keeping the original Siraya voice system, or adapting to the tendencies to change, which were strong but had not yet taken their full course. 3. Siraya had at least three dialects, two of which are particularly useful for revitalization. In order to build a lexicon for a revitalized Siraya, should the vocabulary of these dialects be combined without further ado? Or should the words from one dialect phonologically be adjusted to the other? Is there a cause for revitalizing various dialects? 4. Siraya had “anticipating sequences”, whereby a formal part (an initial consonant, a syllable, or two syllables) of the lexical verb is prefixed to the adverbial head. Anticipating sequences abound in one dialect but are absent in the other. As it is a rather complicated and irregular feature, should it be taught in modern Siraya classes? And if so, how should it be taught: in all its complexity, or in a somewhat simplified version? Or can it be ignored without causing too much structural imbalance to the grammar?

A Sociolinguistic Assessment of the Roshani Speech Variety in Afghanistan
Simone Beck, pp. 235–301

This paper presents the results of a sociolinguistic assessment conducted in September 2007 in the Roshan area in Afghanistan, where the vernacular Roshani is spoken (ISO: sgh, for Shughni). The goal of the assessment was to determine whether the Roshani people will benefit from a language development project, opening the possibility for literature development and primary school education in the vernacular. The objectives were to assess whether the national language Dari (ISO: prs, for Persian) or the closely related speech variety Shughni would be adequate to be used in literature and primary school education. This was achieved by administering sociolinguistic questionnaires and village elder questionnaires, eliciting word lists, testing intelligibility of the Shughni speech variety, and observing and asking about bilingualism with Dari. In this way the domains of language use, attitude towards Roshani, Shughni and Dari, and bilingualism with Dari, and intelligibility of Shughni were determined. This paper aims to show that due to low bilingualism with Dari, Dari literature cannot serve the Roshani speech community adequately. Because of high intelligibility with Shughni and a neutral attitude, it will be recommendable that Shughni reading material will be tested in Roshan as soon as it is ready.

Collaborative Development of Blackfoot Language Courses
Mizuki Miyashita and Annabelle Chatsis, pp. 302–330

This paper presents the experience of developing a Blackfoot language course as a collaboration between a Blackfoot native speaker and a linguist. During the process, we encountered various challenges typical of indigenous language education in the United States. These include issues such as the lack of language teaching materials, the existence of multiple dialects and various writing systems, and the lack of teacher training opportunities. This paper describes our attempts at addressing these issues and devising strategies to meet these challenges.

Languoid, Doculect, and Glossonym: Formalizing the Notion ‘Language’
Michael Cysouw and Jeff Good, pp. 331-359

It is perfectly reasonable for laypeople and non-linguistic scholars to use names for languages without reflecting on the proper definition of the objects referred to by these names. Simply using a name like English or Witotoan suffices as an informal communicative designation for a particular language or a language group. However, for the linguistics community, which is by definition occupied with the details of languages and language variation, it is somewhat bizarre that there does not exist a proper technical apparatus to talk about intricate differences in opinion about the precise sense of a name like English or Witotoan when used in academic discussion. We propose three interrelated concepts—LANGUOID, DOCULECT, and GLOSSONYM—which provide a principled basis for discussion of different points of view about key issues, such as whether two varieties should be associated with the same language, and allow for a precise description of what exactly is being claimed by the use of a given genealogical or areal group name. The framework they provide should be especially useful to researchers who work on underdescribed languages where basic issues of classification remain unresolved.

Technology Reviews

Reviewed by Cordula Meißner and Adriana Slavcheva, pp. 31–40

Ukelele from SIL International
Reviewed by Tyler M. Heston, pp. 114–122

Shure WH30XLR Cardioid Headset Microphone and Countryman E6 Omnidirectional Earset Microphone from Shure and Countryman
Reviewed by Nala Huiying Lee, pp. 177–184

Book Reviews

A Dictionary of Kalam with Ethnographic Notes, by Andrew Pawley and Ralph Bulmer
Reviewed by John Lynch, pp. 64–67

New Perspectives on Endangered Languages, by José Antonio Flores Farfán and Fernando Ramallo
Reviewed by Naomi Nagy, pp. 68–73

Re-awakening Languages: Theory and Practice in the Revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous Languages, by John Hobson, Kevin Lowe, Susan Poetsch, and Michael Walsh
Reviewed by Wesley Y. Leonard, pp. 106–113

Language documentation: Practice and values, by Lenore Grenoble and N. Louanna Furbee
Reviewed by Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada, pp. 168–176

Takuu Grammar and Dictionary: A Polynesian Language of the South Pacific, by Richard M. Moyle
Reviewed by William W. Donner, pp. 207–211