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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Title: Collaborative Issues in Language Variation Documentaries
Author(s): Walt Wolfram
Journal Title: Language and Linguistics Compass
Volume: 4
Issue: 9
Page Range: 793–803
Publication Date: Sep-2010
Abstract: Documentaries about language variation create a unique opportunity for linguists to collaborate with communities and producers in the representation of community language. At the same time, they present a series of challenges that extend from the selection of speakers who represent the community to the final editing decisions that ultimately reflect the producer’s interpretation of the subject matter. Productive collaboration involves input from the community in the conceptualization, the collection of footage, and the editing process. At the same time, producers, linguists, and community members may bring to the project different perspectives on language, different goals for the documentary, and different areas of knowledge and expertise that need to be accommodated. Linguists, producers, and the community can enable the collaborative base through adopting a set of strategies that include the selection of different community voices, restricted narration, limited use of outside experts, transparency in representing the recording process, and positive cultural framing of the community.

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