LINGUIST List 14.2161

Wed Aug 13 2003

Books: Sociolinguistics, Endangered Langs: Stebbins

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  1. t.stebbins, Fighting Language Endangerment: Stebbins

Message 1: Fighting Language Endangerment: Stebbins

Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 11:19:35 +0000
From: t.stebbins <>
Subject: Fighting Language Endangerment: Stebbins

Title: Fighting Language Endangerment 
Subtitle: Community Directed Research on Sm'algyax (Coast Tsimshian)
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: The Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Project
Availability: Available
Author: Tonya Stebbins				

Paperback: ISBN: 1346082X, Pages: xvii + 296 p, Price: $10.00
This book presents a new approach to the documentation of endangered
languages, based on the development of materials for Sm'algyax, the
endangered language of the Tsimshian Nation, Northwest British
Columbia. It deals with issues of particular concern in endangered
languages taking the development of the Sm'algyax Learners' Dictionary
as a case study. The book describes the community directed approach
taken during the dictionary project; identifying strengths and
challenges associated with this method. It involves a symbiotic
relationship between descriptive, pedagogical and sociolinguistic
areas of research, ensuring the preparation of user-friendly
materials. As the history of the Tsimshian Nation is closely tied up
with the vitality of the language, sociolinguistic factors important
to understanding the state of the language today are identified and
the typology of the language is described. A number of language
planning problems that become particularly acute when working with
communities of endangered languages are discussed in depth here. The
discussion provides examples specifically relating to Sm'algyax,
though the methodologies developed here could be used in similar
situations elsewhere. They include: orthography development;
dictionary design; and the management of lexical expansion.

Part One: Community directed language documentation. 1: Responding
effectively to language endangerment. Part Two: Sm'algyax: the
language of the Tsimshian Nation. 2: History of Sm'algyax and the
Tsimshian Nation. 3: Sm'algyax Today. 4: Introduction to Sm'algyax
Grammar. Part Three: Community directed language documentation in
practice. 5: Dictionary Design for the Sm'algyax Learners'
Dictionary. 6: Lexical expansion in Sm'algyax. 7: Representing
Sm'algyax words through English. 8: Polysemy and homonymy in the
Sm'algyax Learners' Dictionary. 9: Spelling in Sm'algyax. 10:
Variation in Sm'algyax. Part Four: Reflections on the community
directed approach. 11: Community directed language work: requirements
and outcomes. References

Because this text was published by the Endangered Languages of the
Pacific Rim Project in Japan, with funding from the Japanese
government, it is not available for commercial sale. Instead, copies
are available from the author. For more information email To obtain a copy send a cheque for US $10
(to cover return postage by airmail) to:

Dr. Tonya Stebbins
Research Centre for Linguistic Typology
La Trobe University
Victoria 3086
Lingfield(s): Anthropological Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Sm'algyax (Language Code: TSI)

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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