New Benjamins title: Grenoble/Furbee - Language Documentation

Paul Peranteau paul at
Wed Mar 23 20:55:26 UTC 2011

Language Documentation
Practice and values
Edited by Lenore A. Grenoble and N. Louanna Furbee
University of Chicago / University of Missouri, Columbia

2010. xviii, 340 pp.

978 90 272 1175 0 / EUR 99.00 / USD 149.00

e-Book – Available from e-book platforms
978 90 272 8783 0 / EUR 99.00 / USD 149.00

Language documentation, also often called documentary linguistics, is a 
relatively new subfield in linguistics which has emerged in part as a 
response to the pressing need for collecting, describing, and archiving 
material on the increasing number of endangered languages. The present 
book details the most recent developments in this rapidly developing 
field with papers written by linguists primarily based in academic 
institutions in North America, although many conduct their fieldwork 
elsewhere. The articles in this volume — position papers and case 
studies — focus on some of the most critical issues in the field. These 
include (1) the nature of contributions to linguistic theory and method 
provided by documentary linguistics, including the content appropriate 
for documentation; (2) the impact and demands of technology in 
documentation; (3) matters of practice in collaborations among linguists 
and communities, and in the necessary training of students and community 
members to conduct documentation activities; and (4) the ethical issues 
involved in documentary linguistics.

Table of contents

Contributors ix–xii
N. Louanna Furbee and Lenore A. Grenoble xiii–xviii
Part 1. Praxis and values
Language documentation: Theory and practice
N. Louanna Furbee 3–24
The linguist’s responsibilities to the community of speakers: 
Community-based research
Keren Rice 25–36
Language documentation: Whose ethics?
Martha J. Macri 37–48
Part 2. Adequacy in documentation
Adequacy in documentation
Anna Berge 51–66
Necessary and sufficient data collection: Lessons from Potawatomi legacy 
Laura Buszard-Welcher 67–74
Documenting different genres of oral narrative in Cora (Uto-Aztecan)
Verónica Vázquez Soto 75–88
Constructing adequate language documentation for multifaceted 
cross-linguistic data: A case study from the Virtual Center for Study of 
Language Acquisition
Barbara Lust, Suzanne Flynn, María Blume, Elaine Westbrooks and Theresa 
Tobin 89–108
Part 3. Documentation technology
Valuing technology: Finding the linguist’s place in a new technological 
Jeff Good 111–132
Using the E-MELD School of Best Practices to create lasting digital 
Jessica Boynton, Steven Moran, Helen Aristar-Dry and Anthony Rodrigues 
Aristar 133–146
Sharing data in small and endangered languages: Cataloging and metadata, 
formats, and encodings
Nicholas Thieberger and Michel Jacobson 147–158
Representing minority languages and cultures on the World Wide Web
David Golumbia 159–170
Part 4. Models of successful collaborations
Beyond expertise: The role of the linguist in language revitalization 
Donna B. Gerdts 173–192
Models of successful collaboration
Arienne Dwyer 193–212
Working with language communities in unarchiving: Making the J. P. 
Harrington notes accessible
Martha J. Macri 213–220
Saving languages, saving lives: Tojolabal (Mayan) language revival 
within a health research NGO
Hermelindo Aguilar Méndez, Teresa López Méndez, Juan Méndez Vázquez, 
Maria Bertha Sántiz Pérez, Ramon Jiménez Jiménez, N. Louanna Furbee, 
Louanna del Socorro Guillén Rovelo and Robert A. Benfer 221–230
Language documentation in the Tohono O’odham community
Colleen M. Fitzgerald 231–240
Documentation of pragmatics and metapragmatics: Language shift and 
pragmatic change in the Hmong language in Wisconsin
Susan M. Burt 241–252
Part 5. Training and careers in field linguistics
Training graduate students and community members for native language 
Judith M. Maxwell 255–274
Native speakers as documenters: A student initiative at the University 
of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Frances Ajo, Valérie Guérin, Ryoko Hattori and Laura C. Robinson 275–286
Part 6. Conclusion 287–288
Language documentation and field linguistics: The state of the field
Lenore A. Grenoble 289–310
Selected online resources 311–314
Name index 315–336
General index 337–340

“The traditional language documentation apparatus of grammar, dictionary 
and text collection is no longer adequate for modern documentary 
linguistics. Today we want to preserve performance data as well, which 
entails additional community participation and heavy use of modern 
technology. Consequently, we encounter a multitude of new questions 
about intellectual property rights, adequate documentation, maximizing 
and standardizing the potential of technology, cooperation with 
revitalization efforts, and more. This book collects experts' and 
beginners' position papers and case studies covering the wide range of 
issues to be considered in the practice of today's documentary 
linguistics. It is an important textbook and reference guide for both 
seasoned and new practitioners from inside and outside of academia.”
David S. Rood, University of Colorado
“Tant de bo aquest llibre, fet amb erudició i gran professionalitat, 
rebi l'atenció que es mereix fora de les fronteres dels Països Catalans 
i que la seva difusió arribi als filòlegs, romanistes, historiadors i 
altres estudiosos d'arreu del món interessats pels processos de 
codificació en general i per la llengua catalana en particular.”
Esther Gimeno Ugaldo, Universitat de Viena, in Llengua i ús, Número 47 

“The contributors to this volume all share a sense of commitment and 
enthusiasm for the hard work of language documentation. Although they 
present may perspectives, their works all exhibit a preoccupation with 
the ethical practice of language documentation. As those persons labor 
to save languages that are endangered, or at least save a persistent and 
useable record of them, they are more concerned with the impact of the 
manner of their work than many of their predecessors have been.”, February 2011

“This rich collection addresses the many sides of language documentation 
and the issues they raise: the practical, methodological, intellectual, 
technological, cultural, interpersonal, and ethical. The contributions 
are varied but impressively coherent. As a group, the contributors bring 
a wealth of experience working with different languages and communities 
to the discussion, and expertise in all aspects of the documentation 
process. At the same time, certain threads run through the set, not the 
least of which is the value of collaboration between community members 
and linguists. Useful reading for anyone contemplating, embarking on or 
engaged in a language documentation project.”
Marianne Mithun, University of California, Santa Barbara

“This is an indispensable volume, that should become a classroom staple. 
A terrific collection of rich, readable, thought-provoking, and very 
practical chapters.”
Jane Hill, University of Arizona

“Here is abundance, coming at just the right time. The drive to document 
languages is a new pressing imperative for linguists, but a dense 
thicket of issues – intellectual, practical, social, ethical – threaten 
to frustrate their attempts to fulfill it. This book points out the 
hazards, and charts a path through them, combining focused position 
papers with the revealing experiences of dozens of practitioners.”
Nicholas Ostler, Foundation for Endangered Languages

“This is an exciting, wide-ranging exploration of the still-developing 
field of language documentation. It highlights the roles of 
technological advances and of ethical considerations in moving fieldwork 
from a solo enterprise to a multipurpose enterprise undertaken by and 
for diverse stakeholders, including both researchers and speaker 
communities. The collection is anchored by solid position papers, 
interspersed with illuminating case studies. Readers will come away from 
the volume fired by the possibilities of this field while also sobered 
by its intellectual and ethical challenges.”
Nancy Dorian, Bryn Mawr College

Paul M. Peranteau
John Benjamins Publishing
763 N 24th Street
Philadelphia PA  USA
Ph: 215 769-3444  Fax: 215 769-3446

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