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.
Check out this blogging site that has Jane Simpson as one of their bloggers… especially you Sophus… where-ever you are… because it involves Australian Indigenous Languages, etc… and should look into it…
Hey guys, thanks for inviting me to this forum. I recently went to visit some Warihó people in Chihuahua, and a Makurawe community in Sonora (both in Mexico). I asked for permission to work with their language and they accepted if I help with the development of their educational material for elementary school. There is a bunch of things I have to do. I am planning my fieldwork for next year. I am excited about it!
I would like to express my gratitude that the Mapuche nation has taken a stand against Microsoft. I hope that their case is heard in court. It does not surprise me that they have taken this action, as they are a very strong people in a country that is still overcoming the wounds of the incredible oppression of the Pinochet dictatorship (which was supported by the USA) and 400 years of colonization. I hope that their voice in this matter will give strength to other indigenous communities around the world that are also faced with the oppression of colonization (economic globalization in its most current and devastating form). My opinion is that it is not right for Microsoft to make software in Mapudungun (there are many ways to spell the language of the Mapuche: I have simply chosen this one) to sell to the Mapuche people for profit without their approval. The bottom line here is APPROVAL. It’s not that difficult to ask for approval before publishing anything regarding indigenous languages/communities (if one is not a member of the community being studied). It is a simple way to show a community that their opinion and wishes are valued, and that they will not be taken advantage of. This is a lesson for all of us that work with indigenous languages. Microsoft should be made an example of to the world.
I am really excited about this blog and about having a forum to talk about different issues related to language revitalization!
I am currently studying at a university in New Mexico, and we have just had the honor of having Sophie visit us for a few months. Her passion and dedication have been inspirational to all of us here, and we are so sad to see her go! But hopefully, the development of this blog marks the beginning of a new experience for us, and a way for us to keep connected despite the differences in time and space. I’m especially excited to hear news and ideas from my friends working in Australia (hi Sarah!).
A short introduction is in order, so I’ll get right to it. I am a linguist, and am currently working with a community in New Mexico on their language revitalization project. This project is very much a community-led endeavor, and I am really excited to be a part of it. I really like the women that I work with, and over the years I have learned a LOT from them. My research interests within the field of linguistics are primarily discourse oriented: grammar and interaction, discourse markers, and prosody.
All in all, I’m really excited about this blog and I can’t wait to read everyone’s contributions!!