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March 2016

Topic     Guiding language consultants’ individual projects: Negotiating organizational issues in the field
    Elena Mihas (James Cook University/U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) will be leading the discussion, she works on Arawak languages of Peru in Amazonia.

Date       Wednesday 23rd March

Time       6:00 - 8:00pm

Venue    University hotel (NOTE NEW-ish VENUE)
              Function room (upstairs), 272 Lygon St, Carlton 3053 (03) 9347 7299
     (menu available online)

Contact  Ruth Singer if you have any questions


Last year we held a session of MLIP titled ‘Supporting community researchers in the field’ which was about models of community engagement where local people at the research fieldsite receive training in linguistic fieldwork techniques and carry out some of the work. One of the background readings for that session was Mihas (2012). In that paper she shares her experiences of subcontracting native speakers. Field linguists based at universities are not always able to spend that much time in the field. However, if local people in the community are interested in doing language work, this is a way of scaling-up or greatly increasing the amount of work that gets done. Employing local people can provide useful employment and training in what are often very disadvantaged communities. In addition, better understanding of the research enables local people to have more input into how research is carried out. And this closer collaboration also improves linguistic analyses (Czaykowska-Higgins 2009, Rice 2011). It is possible at many sites, to set up a system whereby local researchers work independently between visits by linguists. Digital communication can help with this, as support can be provided via email and payments for work can be processed online. However even in less developed areas, local researchers can do work independently with just a tape recorder, batteries and a notebook.

This session of MLIP will discuss these topics:
What kind of projects are viable?
How to find the right people for the job?
How to retain the right people?
How to negotiate remuneration?
How to ensure good quality of the final product?
How to deal with setbacks?

Background readings:
Mosel, U. 2014. 'Corpus linguistic and documentary approaches in writing a grammar of a previously undescribed language'. LD&C Special Publication 8: The Art and Practice of Grammar Writing.

Further readings:
Toshihide and Rice (eds.) 2014. LD&C Special Publication 8: The Art and Practice of Grammar Writing.

Nordhoff, S. 2012 (ed.). LD&C Special Publication 4: Electronic Grammaticography.


See also:
Elena’s blog post on a thematic dictionary project she worked on with local researchers.

Czaykowska-Higgins, E. (2009) Research Models, Community Engagement, and Linguistic Fieldwork: Reflections on Working within Canadian Indigenous Communities. Language Documentation and Conservation, vol. 3, no. 1 (June 2009): 15-50.

Good, J. 2012. ‘“Community” Collaboration in Africa: Experiences from Northwest Cameroon’. Language Documentation and Description 11.

Laycock, A., D. Walker, N. Harrison and J. Brands. 2009. ‘Supporting Indigenous Researchers: A Practical Guide for Supervisors’.

Mihas, E. I. 2012. ‘Subcontracting Native Speakers in Linguistic Fieldwork: A Case Study of the Ashéninka Perené (Arawak) Research Community from the Peruvian Amazon’.

Putt, J. 2012. Conducting Research with Indigenous People and Communities. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse.

Rice, K. 2011. ‘Documentary Linguistics and Community Relations’.


LIP is an occasional gathering of language activists and linguists in Melbourne and is coordinated by the MLIP committee: Ruth Singer, Stefan Schnell (Melbourne Uni) and Harriet Sheppard, Jonathan Schlossberg, Alan Ray, Giordana Santosuosso, Jonathon Lum (Monash Uni).
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