Working with last speakers
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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
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