Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Query Details

Query Subject:   Working with last speakers
Author:   Daniel Hansen
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Language Documentation
Anthropological Linguistics

Query:   I am a senior undergrad at Yale researching endangered languages,
specifically their documentation and revitalization, and especially
languages in extremely dire situations (e.g. one fluent speaker or no
fluent speakers remaining). I have been following Rob Amery's work on
Kaurna in Adelaide (Australia) and my project advisor, Claire Bowern,
is also a specialist in Australian Aboriginal languages.

Would anyone be willing to share commentary or anecdotes about
working with last speakers? I'm interested in linguists' concerns about
grammatical change/attrition, or unreliable data, as well as problems
and questions that arise regarding ethics and intellectual property in
the course of endangered language research. I would hugely
appreciate any insights, however brief, into this subject.

Dan Hansen, Yale College 2012
LL Issue: 23.727
Date posted: 13-Feb-2012


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