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Trainee Responses to the MENA Fall School

Last month, ELDP held a one-week long fall school on theory and methods in modern language documentation focusing on the Middle East and North Africa region from October 10th-17th. The school was held in collaboration with and hosted by the Zentrum fuer Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) in Berlin, Germany. Today on the ELAR blog, we are sharing some of the participants’ feedback on the training:

The Fall School of Documentary Linguistics equipped me with new approaches to my work while on the other hand it further strengthened my belief in my endeavor which is more activism-based than academic. It further enhanced my trust in my approach to linguistic research and documentation—the approach which is focused on the active benefits from the research and documentation for the users of a language and the practitioners of its culture. -Zubair Torwali

Thank you for the wonderful training course you organized. It was a perfect mix of topics and people which resulted in a great experience for us. The emphasis of the instructors was on the applied aspects of language documentations. It was one of the high quality courses that i have ever participated in. I could really  get the most out of it. –Kamyar Joolaee

This ELDP training was a great opportunity to learn how to document endangered languages and it was made possible because trainees are taught by professional professors in a really friendly and close atmosphere –Reyhaneh Nouraei Nia

The thing I loved the most was the trainers’  passion toward the work they were doing and the languages we worked on. I was really inspired! Not only did they teach us to be documenters and rigorous, but they also showed us to have more faith in what we do as linguists. I loved every minute of it and I am happy that I tried my best not to take this opportunity for granted. -Yassaman Choubsaz

The eight day rigorous training has opened new avenues for me in qualitative research and documentation of languages. I have learned how passionate the people working for ELAR are. There passion is contagious and has left me invigorated to carry out documentation of endangered languages in my country, Pakistan. I met and made new friends from all over the world. We were curious about each other’s cultures and languages. We also shared the projects that we are carrying out currently. This training helped us quench our thirst for knowledge. I realised how easy it is to dismantle the barriers of culture and religion and live together in harmony.  In the end, I would like to thank all the members who were with us day and night and selflessly helped us to learn so much. Thank you! -Munaza Hasan Nasir

I am happy for the great experience I had during the Fall School of Berlin. In fact, it was my first experience in such an environment of great diversity of cultures and languages. I am glad I have found some wonderful, affectionate friends from Iran and other countries. I have been working as a teacher for three years and I needed to put myself in the position of a student to reconsider my duties and role in the classroom. I learned a lot in all classes. –Mahnaz Talebi Dastenaei

We were informed about the importance of language documentation through making and archiving multipurpose records. Also, we learned practical application in how to work with various video recorders, cameras, voice recorders, etc., and how to properly make the best possible raw data. Another part of the training was about the proper way of working with metadata and archiving that data including tagging, sorting, transcribing, glossing, and translating with ELAN and Flex. I hope that programs of this kind will continue in the future. -Milad Shariatmadari

Language documentation is a totally different world of linguistics for a student working within the generative framework like me! It was a sudden shift from drawing trees to learning how to document languages. It was tough but extremely entertaining. First, I should say that I was so impressed by such a wonderfully organized comprehensive and professional training; everything was professional and everybody was great. Great enthusiasm, motivation and confidence from everyone. We were trained by superstar scholars; the content of their presentations was precise and the exercises were both didactic and fun. I learnt many things about language use, discourse, fieldwork, technology use in documentation and morphosyntax during the training; but most importantly I understand very clearly why language documentation is so crucial for us linguists! Thank you all for such a fantastic training! -SONGÜL GÜNDOĞDU YÜCEL

Thank you to all of the trainees who attended the MENA Fall School!

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