Hello! I am so glad this has come together finally, even if we start small it is a great way to be in touch and get some things out there… So good onya guys (Jalon, Susan, Steven) for getting the ball rolling. For anyone else reading: my name is Sophie, I am a PhD student in linguistics from the University of New England, Australia. I am currently in the USA on a Fulbright scholarship for a year visiting this lot to see what they are up to with the local indigenous languages. I have spent the last four months living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am currently in Tucson, Arizona.
Since I arrived here I have met many interesting people. Something important that comes up, time and again is the scarred relationship between researchers, such as liguists and indigenous language communities. I have met with some amazing academics here, mainly women and mainly Indian ( Native American? Indian sounds like from India to Australians!), all of whom are working on language, or language related issues. It seems important that there is some good relationships built between linguists and speakers of the indigenous languages (where they are not one and the same, Jalon!) that there could be a dynamic and exciting relationship between the two.
I have been talking to some people here about this. And they are willing to consider it. My friend Amanda suggested getting in touch with some Elders in different communities who want to work on language issues and suggesting linguists who may be (unexploitively!!) interested in forming some sort of partnership ( I am thinking of you Steven and Susan…?). Maybe some collaboration could start there… it is hard since you don’t have language centres here in the South-West who might act to facilitate this kind of relationship and protect both parties ( though usually it is the speakers who are most vulnerable), and many people may not know what linguists do ( or can do if you put a fire under them).
I am going to give a little talk about it on Wednesday evening- who knows. Maybe some good things will happen. I hope we will get some more discussion going.
Another interesting thing that Wamut in Australia, mentioned to me a while ago and I have been itching to talk about is the issue of how a linguist can give a language group determination over how their language is represented and reproduced. He pointed out that discourse analysis ( which is recording conversations and looking at how people talk) may not be at all how language speakers would like their language recorded as it looks (and is!) so unpolished, and also appears unsophisticated ( if you look at a transcript of spoken English you will see what I mean). I would love anyone’s posts or comments on this thought.