Action Items from LSA Endangered Lg. Mtg. (Summary)

Tony Woodbury acw at
Wed Jan 29 20:18:40 UTC 1997

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The following is a query and suggestion I received from Johanna Nichols
<johanna at> in response to one of the LSA Committee on
Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) "Action Items" I
circulated a few weeks back.  With her permission, I am circulating her
query to the Endangered-Languages-L list as well as to the CELP mailing

>I hereby take up
>your challenge to engage in some disciplinary agitation on this point:

>>(poser at has suggested that information and experience be assembled
>>on how linguistic information of various kinds could be mobilized in
>>community language preservation efforts.  This includes the development of
>>pedagogical materials from scientific grammars, dictionaries, and text
>>collections, as well as the effective dissemination of scientific results
>>on such topics as multilingualism (e.g., Knowing more than one language
>>won't stunt a child's intellectual growth).  This project may take a
>>variety of forms, e.g., a clearing house, a web page, or just the
>>preparation of a survey of relevant  research which could be published in
>>an appropriate scholarly periodical.
>I'm presently working on a joint scientific and pedagogical Ingush-English,
>English-Ingush dictionary, and have run into a problem that must certainly
>be general for the field.  My training and experience prepare me to produce
>a good analysis of the Ingush lexicon, but what about the English half of
>the dictionary?  The Ingush speech community needs a description of English
>that is as linguistically sophisticated as the Ingush part is intended to
>be.  Given all the work that's been done on English and its long
>lexicographic history, surely there must exist somewhere in the electronic
>public domain an up-to-date sophisticated canned generic X-English,
>English-X lexical skeleton that I can graft onto and adjust to my Ingush
>data (rather than reinvent the wheel, plagiarize, duplicate efforts, waste
>time, or otherwise commit major scientific sins).  CELP
>could help linguists, and the teaching of field methods courses, by
>identifying such materials and making them available to the profession.  Or
>creating them.

Perhaps anyone with information on this could post it to the
Endangered-Languages-L list so that it can be shared widely and easily.
(To post, simply send your message as email to:
endangered-languages-l at

Tony Woodbury <acw at>

Dept. of Linguistics                     Phone:        (512) 471 1701
Calhoun Hall 501                         Fax:          (512) 471 4340
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712

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