corrected snippet of text

endangered-languages-l at endangered-languages-l at
Wed Feb 5 14:06:52 UTC 1997

		Emma Zevik rightly asks for clarification of the
		point I was trying to raise about legel issues in the
		next-to-last paragraph of my posting to the ELL yesterday.
		Apologies, careless backspacing chewed up a piece of that
		sentence. It should have read as follows:
		     If there are legal issues (land claims, water
		          rights, questions of freedom to follow traditional
			       religious practices) that an outsider who
		     knowledgeable about local language and tradition
		          can help to prepare for, that may make it
				     Nancy Dorian
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		Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 08:19:13 -0600 (CST)
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		To: endangered-languages-l at
		From: fkarttunen at (Frances Karttunen)
		Subject: Re: fieldwork/cultural theft
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		My teachers
		>did a lousy job of training me, if you can actually
		>steal a language, because I've spent a lot of years
		>asking people in Scotland & in Pennsylvania if
		>they'd be kind enough to share some of theirs with
		>me.  They were, as it happened, but they werent
		>required to & I couldnt have made them.
		>        Nancy

		The thing is, "they" are never a monolithic group, and
		sometimes it only
		takes a few people to be a key to open a language/culture
		complex that
		many/most speakers would prefer locked up.

		In my book, "Between Worlds," I considered the careers of more
		than a dozen
		people who had served as interpreters of their
		languages/cultures to
		interested outsiders, asking what were their motivations, and
		what were the
		consequences. A unifying thread was that the "informants" were
		in one way
		or another marginalized before the investigator came on the
		scene.  The
		consequences were often that the person providing the
		information to
		outsiders was further marginalized by her/his community and
		left in
		isolation and destitution when the outsiders moved on.

		In particular I think of dona Marina ("la Malinche"), who has
		become the
		object of a huge construct of myth in Mexico, and the
		experience of Maria
		Sabina after her "discovery" by R. Gordon Wasson.

		This is something linguists and anthropologists need to
		reflect on,
		particularly if/as they prepare graduate students for field

		That said, I agree far more than disagree with Nancy, and I
		linguists, young and older, have a vital contribution to make
		in the
		current crisis of half or more of the languages currently

		Fran Karttunen

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