23.1816, Calls: Language Documentation, =?UTF-8?Q?=09Anthropological_?=Linguistics/USA

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LINGUIST List: Vol-23-1816. Tue Apr 10 2012. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 23.1816, Calls: Language Documentation, 	Anthropological Linguistics/USA

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Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 07:36:02
From: Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada [jrosesla at uwo.ca]
Subject: Latin American Contexts for Language Documentation and Revitalization

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Full Title: Latin American Contexts for Language Documentation and Revitalization 

Date: 03-Jan-2013 - 06-Jan-2013
Location: Boston, MA, USA 
Contact Person: Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada
Meeting Email: documentation.revitalization at gmail.com

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Language Documentation 

Call Deadline: 27-Apr-2012 

Meeting Description:

Joint LSA-SSILA session entitled 'Latin American Contexts for Language Documentation and Revitalization' for the 2013 LSA Annual Meeting 

To be held during the LSA 2013 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA from 3 to 6 January 2013, this panel's main goal is to broaden the discussion initiated by the 2013 session entitled 'From Language Documentation to Language Revitalization', to address the particulars of language documentation and revitalization in Latin America.


While there has been a significant increase in the awareness of the needs, best practices, and goals of language documentation projects in the field of linguistics, the focus has been predominately on North American languages (especially within the US). The greatest genetic diversity in languages is found in Latin America, home to over 100 distinct language families and isolates. Language communities range from sizeable communities of languages with official status such as certain varieties of Guaraní, Quechua and Aymara, to communities of highly endangered languages with limited attention from communities, scholars and governments, as is the case of many Mesoamerican and Amazonian languages. The context in which language documentation might be conducted throughout Latin American and the challenges facing revitalization efforts are unique and cannot be extrapolated from the North American experience. This session therefore intends to give the Latin American context the focus and attention it requires by highlighting the key differences and needs for communities outside the US. It is understood that language documentation and revitalization in Latin America present complex issues and challenges which range across disciplines and sub-disciplines, and which have the potential to alter the methodologies, processes and expected outcomes in documenting and revitalizing languages in this part of the world.    

This session will address the various factors affecting language documentation and revitalization and will feature six case studies selected through competitive abstract submission to highlight the various ways in which these factors interact, and to provide broad geographic coverage. 

Call for Papers:

The following is a list of issues and challenges language documenters and/or activists may face while working in Latin America. The list is just suggestive rather than comprehensive and it is intended to provide you with clues of some of the factors that might be worth exploring. 

1.           Resources
a.           Community-internal resources range from limited to non-existent in Latin American societies many of which are dependent on subsistence agriculture, hunter-gathering, or, small scale trade and services.  
b.           State and federal resources, if available, are generally very limited and not efficiently administered.
c.           Technology-enabled access is not a given in a substantial portion of Latin American communities.
d.           Access to resources (e.g. grants, archives, telecommunications, academic scholars, training) for community members not residing in major urban areas is generally extremely limited
e.           Resources might only be available in dominant languages such as Spanish or English making access to conferences, training and other resources restricted to monolingual speakers of any given language. Even bilingual speakers of their language and Spanish or Portuguese are shut out of English-based resources and exchange opportunities such as most US based conferences and training opportunities.
2.           Community engagement and motivation
a.           Cultural constructs and/or social priorities may not allow for community-wide acknowledgement of a language endangerment situation.
b.           Different degrees of language vitality may lead to different levels of community engagement and motivation.
c.           Subsistence, cultural and social priorities may interfere with the ability to develop partnerships between community members and external researchers.
3.           Linguistic and dialectal diversity
a.           Linguistic diversity is uniquely complex in Latin America with concentrations of numerous dialectal varieties or even mutually unintelligible and/or genetically unrelated languages in small geographic areas demand very high investments in intellectual and economic resources to ensure impact. 
4.           Literacy and institutionalized education
a.           Widespread institutionalized education is relatively recent in many areas in Latin America.
b.           Widespread literacy cannot be assumed.
5.           Expected outcomes and outcome formats
a.           Factors 1 to 4 above require small scale, customized strategies and national level approaches along the lines of a national or even a regional Breath of Life are not feasible.
b.           Success in documentation and revitalization is a notion that needs to be customized based on the case specific interaction of Factors 1 to 4.
c.           Language communities in Latin America are complex and often have different agendas for language revitalization which will often not include formal education or extra-curricular educational programs.  
6.           Geographic distance
a.           Location of a given community and access to it with regards to the researcher's place of residence may compromise the continuity of collaborative documentation and especially, of collaborative revitalization efforts.
7.           Ethics, human subjects, and IRB requirements
a.           Most Latin American societies do not share the concerns that significantly condition a US-based researcher's ability to conduct language documentation or to access funding to support it.
b.           IRB requirements such as signed consent forms may be misinterpreted by centuries-old experiences of abuse through administrative devices such as written and signed documents, and may be a source of distrust.


Presentations will be 20 minutes in length, followed by a 10-minute discussion period (or shorter depending on number of submissions). Based on participants' interest, a poster session might be added to the special session. 

Please submit your abstract in keeping with LSA 2013 Annual Meeting Abstract Guidelines and Specifications available at http://lsadc.org/info/meet-annual13-abguide.cfm, by email attachment (as Word, RTF or PDF files - please use PDF if there are any potential problems with fonts) to documentation.revitalization at gmail.com. Please write 'ABSTRACT FOR LSA-SSILA SPECIAL SESSION' in the subject line. Make the abstract as anonymous as possible, and include a title. In the body of your email message, include the following:

-           Title of the abstract: 
-           Word count
-           Author(s):  
-           Affiliation(s):      
-           Date submitted:   

The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 27, 2012. The anonymous abstracts will be refereed by the panel organizing committee, and authors will be notified of inclusion to the proposed session by May 15. A final decision of LSA-SSILA acceptance of the special session falls outside of the organizers' control and will be communicated to authors by late Summer/early Fall.

Panel Organizing Committee:

Gabriela Pérez Báez, Smithsonian Institution, perezbaezg at si.edu
Chris Rogers, University of Utah, chris.rogers at utah.edu
Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada, University of Western Ontario, jrosesla at uwo.ca

Further information regarding the 87th LSA Annual Meeting can be found at:


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