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Notes from the Field: Remontado (Hatang-Kayi): A Moribund Language of the Philippines
Jason William Lobel & Orlando Vertudez Surbano, pp. 1-35
Nearly half a century has passed since Philippine educator Teodoro Llamzon discovered the Remontado language, which would be introduced to the world in a master’s thesis written by his student Pilar Santos. Although data from the wordlists they collected have been included in subsequent publications by several other authors, no one had revisited the language community, let alone collected any additional data on this highly-endangered language, prior to the current authors. This article presents updated information on the language community, the current state of the language, and a revised description of the various grammatical subsystems of the language, including its verbal morphology. Also included are over 400 audio recordings illustrating basic aspects of the phonology as well as the various functor sets and verb forms, and a short text for comparison with other similar language sketches.
This paper addresses the gaps between language documentation and language revitalization. It is intended for several audiences, including field linguists interested in supporting endangered language sustainability efforts and participants of all kinds in language revitalization courses, programs, and infrastructure. The authors contend that ethnographic methods have transformative potential for contemporary language revitalization practice. Using anthropological tools, linguists and/or speech community members can enrich documentary efforts, mobilize linguistic data for more effective revitalization programs, and improve assessments of language revitalization projects. Beginning with a discussion of ethnographic methods and their connection to existing linguistic practices, this paper moves on to address the impact of language revitalization planning and infrastructure on endangered language use. It then outlines key ethnographic concepts that were identified as particularly useful in two pilot ethnographic methods classes run by the authors in 2015 and 2016, each of which can be operationalized using the basic tenets of participant observation. These concepts present ways of re-evaluating understandings of “communities”; considering language ideologies, ideological clarification, and language socialization; recognizing the nature and implications of different social roles and identities of those involved in revitalization projects; and attuning to genre and intertextuality in the development of resources. The incorporation of both basic ethnographic methodologies and of conceptual frames like these can supplement a field linguist’s or a language revitalization program’s tools to help them better collaborate across differences, support and assess language programs, and understand the obstacles that may exist between them, their collaborators, and sustainable language vitality.
Accessing, managing, and mobilizing an ELAN-based language documentation corpus: the Kwaras and Namuti tools
Gabriela Caballero, Lucien Carroll & Kevin Mach, pp. 63-82
This paper introduces Kwaras and Namuti, two new tools for building, managing, accessing, and mobilizing ELAN-based language documentation corpora. Kwaras integrates WAV files, ELAN annotations, and document metadata into a web-based corpus, allowing immediate access to annotations and recordings. Namuti builds from Kwaras and enables different uses of language documentation products for different audiences and provides links from linguistic analyses to language documentation corpora. The main goal of these new tools is three-fold: (i) to facilitate the use of language documentation in linguistic analysis; (ii) to increase transparency of documentation-based analyses, providing interested users full access to the data on which generalizations are based and contextualization of the projects that generated the data; and (iii) to enable uses of language corpora that may serve the interests of multiple stakeholders, including academic researchers and community members interested in language maintenance and revitalization. We provide a basic overview of how Kwaras and Namuti work, lay out instructions on how to download and use Kwaras, and discuss what uses it currently supports. This article also issues a call for increased collaboration between linguists, community members, language activists, and software developers to further develop these and other similar resources.
The languages of northern Ambrym, Vanuatu: A guide to the deposited materials in ELAR
Michael Franjieh, pp. 83-111
This paper gives a detailed overview of the archived language documentation materials for the two languages spoken in northern Ambrym, Vanuatu: North Ambrym and Fanbyak. I discuss the speakers and the language situation in northern Ambrym to give readers an introduction to the culture of the area. The archived materials encompass five different research projects focusing on the two languages, including documentation and literacy development projects. Data collection, workflows, file-naming conventions, and community involvement are all discussed. The deposited materials are described along with overviews of the different genres, sub-genres, and keywords to enable users to navigate and discover relevant recordings.
Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla, Puebla, Mexico
Rachel McGraw, pp. 112-154
Despite sharing many cultural, historical, and socioeconomic characteristics, Totonac communities have markedly distinct language use patterns and practices. Some communities have adopted the mainstream hegemonic discourse in Mexico that denigrates indigeneity and subsequently abandoned Totonac (Lam 2009). In other communities, such as Ozelonacaxtla, an alternate discourse dominates that values multilingualism, and Totonac is widely spoken by the vast majority of the community. This variation across Totonac communities facing the same broad pressures to shift to Spanish demonstrates that current sociodemographic models of language shift lack significant predictive power. By examining not only sociodemographic factors, but also language ideology, this study seeks to determine whether and how language use in Ozeloancaxtla is qualitatively different in nature from other Totonac communities. Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla is undertaken in the methodology of qualitative linguistic ethnography (Copland & Creese 2015). Results show that Ozelonacaxtla Totonac is currently used in almost all community and home domains; however some threats to continued sustainability are recognized. Three main language ideologies in Ozelonacaxtla are identified: (i) language is an index of identity, (ii) language is important/useful, and (iii) Totonac should not be lost. These main discourses are used by speakers to explain, justify, and contest language use patterns and practices, and significant differences in ideology are found across Totonac communities with contrasting language use. This demonstrates the importance of examining ideology in order to accurately interpret language use and best position potential efforts to support language sustainability, documentation, and revitalization.
maqlaqsyalank hemyeega: Goals and expectations of Klamath-Modoc revitalization
Joseph Dupris, pp. 155-196
This paper documents a collaboration between the Klamath Tribes and the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) focused on intra-community capacity-building and early stages of language planning through immersion activities, survey responses, and discussion of intra-community involvement. In December 2016, I facilitated a three-day maqlaqsyals (Klamath-Modoc language) immersion workshop, “maqlaqsyalank hemyeega”, on the Klamath reservation. Each day, immersion lessons focused on developing conversational use of maqlaqsyals between participants. During each lunch hour, participants shared personal goals and priorities regarding successful language revitalization.
Ten tribal community members, including myself, made explicit their interest of sharing knowledge within the larger tribal community. Many of the workshop participants expressed the goal of using the language with their families while some participants expressed that the workshop had already helped them reach a personal goal in three days. Participants also discussed obtaining linguistic resources and establishing domains of language use. Understanding current interests of language in my tribal community provides early steps toward developing the framework of a “good linguist” in the maqlaqsyals revitalization movement.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the paper explores the ways of interpreting and translating a shamanic pantsantsi song by a fieldworker and Alto Perené (a.k.a Ashéninka Perené) language workers. The language’s vitality is on a steep downward trajectory. Currently, it is spoken by a few hundred people. Aiming to create a thorough record of shamanic singing for the purpose of Alto Perené preservation, the fieldworker grapples with various stumbling blocks. Among them are the absence of shamans as an institution, the simulative setting of audio and video recordings, the inaccessibility of the text meanings to language consultants, and the non-definitiveness of the translated text. The shamanic language is manipulated in various ways to make it distinct from the profane speech of community members. The manipulative strategies include the singer’s allusions to the predation and conviviality schemes, prosodic repetitions, lexical and morphosyntactic manipulations, and voice masking. The meaning of the pantsantsi text eludes the non-indigenous fieldworker unless she collaborates with highly proficient language speakers, devotes many years to the committed study of the research language, possesses a good knowledge of the culture-specific background, and draws on multiple sources of translation.
Learning and teaching Gumbaynggirr through story: Behind the scenes of professional learning workshops for teachers of an Aboriginal language
Susan Poetsch, Michael Jarrett, & Denise Angelo, pp. 231-252
This study unpacks characteristics of the Gumbaynggirr context and aligns them to the rationale, development, and delivery of a set of workshops designed to support community members teaching their language in schools in New South Wales, Australia. In this community adults learn Gumbaynggirr primarily via material made available through historical and linguistic research. Community language revival endeavours have been in progress for some years and are now further expanding into schools. Supporting school teaching of languages being revived is a complex yet under-reported matter, a gap this paper starts to fill. To this end we detail how the strengths of personnel and language resources at the heart of Gumbaynggirr revival efforts allow story to emerge as a focus for the workshops. The project is a collaboration between local community members and university-based colleagues some distance away. The behind-the-scenes planning for the workshops and associated learning and teaching resources are the basis of the research reported here. Methodologically it responds to a community-determined agenda and applies a translational research intent. That is, it shows how tailored input from academic disciplines can maximize language and culture outcomes for teacher development in a revival context.
Revitalisation of Mangarrayi: Supporting community use of archival audio exemplars for creation of language learning resources
Mark Richards, Caroline Jones, Francesca Merlan, & Jennifer MacRitchie, pp. 253-280
Mangarrayi is a critically endangered language from the western Roper River re- gion in the Northern Territory of Australia. Today the greatest concentration of Mangarrayi people live at Jilkminggan, 135 kilometres south-east of Katherine. Although several older Mangarrayi speakers remain, the language is no longer used in day-to-day communication. However, there is a desire amongst a number of young adult community members to learn some of their heritage language. In this paper we discuss the process undertaken to support these aspirations, focus- ing on the use of exemplar Mangarrayi utterances sourced from archival docu- ments as a key to developing a basic level of communicative competence in con- texts identified as important to learners. This requires a clear understanding of how and when to use the utterances. We propose using a combination of language functions, topics, and sub-topics to clarify usage and support non-specialist com- munity members in using these for learning and teaching Mangarrayi.