Getting Started…

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.

Keep writing!!!!


5 responses to “Getting Started…

  1. Sophie et al.-
    I have been neglecting the blog, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. You have great ideas, Sophie, and I believe that the vast majority of us linguists here at UNM are in agreement that a partnership between linguists and indigenous people is in great need. I also agree that it would be a great idea for elders from all interested indigenous nations to get together to discuss the possibility of collaborating to put together an indigenous language center (maybe just regionally, like New Mexico, or Northern New Mexico, for example, just to begin with). The center would provide collaboration between nations so that nations with more experience in language issues could offer support to those that are just beginning the process of confronting and reversing language loss. To my knowledge, nothing like this has been attempted in the S.W. I would love to make this a reality, and I bet that I could talk Susan and/or others into getting involved. Take care all. Sophie we miss you. -Nana Tay

  2. hastiinjayshaun

    Hey Sophus Doophus,

    By the way that name really suits you… (just joking)… anyway… just writing to let all-ya know that I forgot my login name and password…(think it’s called cognitive decay)… but I’m back from the dead… and ready to hide some eggs for those kiddos… Soo … Steven (aka Smenefee) and I just recently submitted our abstract for WAIL… yippy!!! and I am ..pretty sure we’re going to get accepted…because wezz bad ass ling-ers… for those peoples who don’t know what WAIL is… Its an annual conference (Workshop for American Indigenous Languages) held at University of Santa Barabara… (currently where Sophus Doophus is at)… nonetheless… Itsa great conference … all the who’s who’s of Injun Linguistics will be there …i.e. Steven and I…yippy! (opps I shouldn’t say that because we havn’t formally been accepted…bettter knock on wood) … but can’t wait to see ya Sophus… hope you’re enjoying the West Coast….

  3. hastiinjayshaun

    i.e. University of Califonia, Santa Barbara…

  4. Hi you guys – Just found you all here, and wanted to tell Sophie to come back! We are starting a New Mexico Native Languages Center and we need you!

  5. Wow! A Language Centre! Such good news!!! we want to hear more!
    Susan! Perhaps you could encourage Melissa to become an author???!!

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