[Tibeto-burman-linguistics] SLE workshop proposal on using legacy materials for contemporary description/documentation

Aimée Lahaussois aimee.lahaussois at linguist.univ-paris-diderot.fr
Tue Sep 26 08:09:37 UTC 2023

Dear all

The next European Linguistics Society (SLE) conference will be held in Helsinki, August 21-24th, 2024.

I would like to propose a workshop on the challenges and potential benefits of using older descriptive materials to complement our own field data as part of a description/documentation project.

If interested, please let me know by November 6th.

Best regards

Legacy materials as data sources for language description and documentation
For linguists engaged in language description and documentation, the multiple crises of the last few years have in some cases made access to field sites difficult. This has often led to a renewed interest in mining earlier descriptive materials to complement field data collected in person. Such legacy sources, which can result from colonial, missionary, scientific enterprises, among others, can be challenging to use for a number of reasons: modern-trained linguists may question their reliability and methodological biases, and be faced with unfamiliar terminology, ontological systems, frameworks, presentation style, typographies, etc. 
Yet these materials can often contribute in a tangible way to contemporary language analyses: they may contain data which can provides insights for diachronic work; otherwise inaccessible lexical data; textual materials in registers or genres missing from the contemporary corpus; morphological data necessary to complete paradigms. At the meta-grammaticographical level, these resources are likely to inform us about earlier data collection methodology, the development of data annotation and glossing practices, the evolution of grammatical categories and their interrelations, approaches to language description (and notably the question of onomasiology vs. semasiology), and the changing place of the various subfields of linguistics in descriptive work, among others.
Some of the questions we will explore during this workshop are:
·      What specific issues have descriptive linguists been faced with in using older materials? What solutions have they arrived at to resolve such issues?
·      What sorts of elements can be gleaned from the use of such older materials, in terms of the evolution of the practice of grammar-writing and the methodology of data collection?
·      What solutions can historians of linguistics, who are deeply familiar with such materials, bring to the table, through collaboration with descriptive linguists and typologists, to make the materials more accessible?
·      What does using older descriptive materials reveal about our current perspectives on what makes a “good” grammatical description?

If interested, please send 300-word abstracts to aimee.lahaussois at cnrs.fr by November 6th.

Aimée Lahaussois
[‘ɛmɛj ~ eme laoswa]

Researcher in Linguistics
Director of the Paris Graduate School of Linguistics, https://paris-gsl.org/index.html

Histoire des théories linguistiques
CNRS & Université Paris Cité


tel. (33)

> On 23 Sep 2023, at 11:20, Randy J. LaPolla <randy.lapolla at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> Prof. James A. Matisoff (Jim), has asked me to also circulate his paper for the ICSTLL in Thailand starting Oct. 10.
> Randy
> <Matisoff 2023 Historical Semantics for Bgk ICSTLL.PDF>
> _______________________________________________
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