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What work can I do without a linguist?
If you want to get started by yourself, the advice provided in some of the other questions on this page will assist: e.g. on recording equipment, software, how to set up a language program, and who to talk to about endangered languages.
We advise that training is very important to ensure the best possible language documentation or revitalization outcomes. A number of the training programs discussed on this site have been developed with a focus on the needs and goals of community language activists.
Advice and/or professional assistance from linguists can assist in the success of your project.
If you are working with a group or as part of a language community, it's important to be very clear about your goals (see the question on "How can I set up a language program?"). You might start by brainstorming ideas.
Here are some possible projects:
- making recordings of language speakers
- writing new songs in the language
- making resources (e.g. story books, animations, a wordlist)
- language awareness classes (building general knowledge about the language and languages to which it is related)
- language learning classes
- publishing (e.g. comics, novels, newspapers)
Think about the following practical issues:
- Where will it be held?
- How often will it happen (once, regularly?)?
- Who are we aiming this towards?
- Who is the target audience?
- What materials do we need to develop?
- Who will do this and how?
- Where can we look for funding?
Think about the following personnel issues:
- Who needs to be involved in the different language activities?
- What kinds of people do we need to work with?
- Do we need a language speaker or language teacher? Where can we find one?
- Do we need a linguist? What tasks might a linguist help us with? Where can we find one?
- What might their roles be?
- What other people can help us learn more about our language and culture? For example: other people who may not be language speakers, but who have lived or studied in the community
- Do we want to include people from other language groups?