Where Do We Need to Go From Here?



ELAR & ELDP Spring recap: Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of our Spring recap, here’s the second part of our roundup, featuring language documentation training in India and some of our upcoming events during 2019.

Participants show their certificates after completing the training in Ranchi, India

From 14-23 April, Mandana traveled to Ranchi, India, to deliver language documentation training with Felix Rau (University of Cologne) and ELDP grantee Alex Garcia (Universitat de Barcelona).

The “International Workshop on the Documentation of Endangered Languages and Cultures” was organised by ELDP with Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University and Dr Ram Dayal Munda Tribal Welfare Research Institute.

Attendees took part in a range of sessions on language documentation in the Indian context, including theory, dictionary making, everyday language use and data management, as well as software training for linguistic analysis.

There are also the opportunity for attendees to put their training into practice, working with consultants to collect data.

ELDP grantee Alexandro Garcia-Laguia with participants of the documentation training
ELDP grantee Alexandro Garcia-Laguia with participants of the documentation training
Felix Rau with participants of the documentation training in Ranchi, including Dr. Indira Birua from Ranchi University's Department of Tribal and Regional Languages (TRL)
Felix Rau with participants of the documentation training in Ranchi, including Dr. Indira Birua from Ranchi University’s Department of Tribal and Regional Languages (TRL)

Mandana also took part in a conference on extinction at the Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin. Mandana’s talk entitled Sprachen sterben nicht, Menschen geben sie auf [Languages don’t die, people give them up] formed part of a programme exploring historical and comparative perspectives on the theme of extinction.

The panel meeting for the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme also took place as part of the review process for ELDP applications. The panel, consisting of eight academics specialising in linguistics and language documentation, met to consider ELDP funding applications and provide recommendations. In all, the panel recommended 30% more grants this year compared to 2018, including 13 projects by local scholars.

In May, the Creative Commons Global Summit took place, bringing together attendees for sessions on the promotion of open knowledge and sharing. Mandana presented during the session Traditional Knowledge and the Commons: What’s Next?, exploring how the Open movement can better serve communities of all kinds, especially Indigenous communities.

 On May 14, Gema Zamora Fernandez, Digital Archivist at ELAR, joined Dr Meera Sabaratnam (Chair of the Decolonising SOAS Working Group) and a group of visiting scholars to talk about the work that is being carried out at SOAS on the documentation of Australia’s endangered languages.

The scholars were part of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Leadership and their visit to London was to build upon leadership networks, skills and knowledge systems in conjunction with key British institutions. Gema led an exploration of some of ELAR’s Australian collections, and discussed issues of ethics and ownership in data collection, and access to archival materials covering Indigenous knowledge.

You can learn more about the Melbourne Poche Leadership Program here.

ELDP, with partners at the Universität Hamburg, the Universität zu Köln, the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Mannheim) and the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), also announced the new project QUEST: Quality – Established. Erprobung und Anwendung von Kurationskriterien und Qualitätsstandards für audiovisuelle, annotierte Sprachdaten.

The QUEST project will develop quality standards and curation criteria for annotated, audiovisual linguistic data and will develop and test quality control procedures for the creation and curation of such resources. QUEST focuses on digital research data collected through language documentation and through research on multilingualism, but aims to develop more widely applicable standards. QUEST will also improve existing data sets and future data collection procedures in terms of reproducibility of research results and long-term accessibility and reusability, also for wider scientific and non-scientific uses.

Mandana was also invited as a plenary speaker to the International Conference on Minority Languages (ICML XVII), which took place from 22-24 May in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Mandana, representing ELDP, spoke about using digital technology for the documentation, preservation and mobilisation of languages.

Upcoming events in 2019 also include:

To coincide with the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, Francesca Brown (Digital Archive Assistant at ELAR) is also producing a series of podcasts with fellow MA students in the SOAS Department of Linguistics. Keep an eye on our blog for more information!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *