Open Access Publishing: A LIPIL discussion

Jonas Lau recaps last week’s Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL), a monthly informal gathering of linguists to discuss topical areas in our field.

The first LIPIL gathering of the new year was held on 26th of January in a new location, The Duke, which is also planned to be the location of future meetings. Researchers, faculty and students of SOAS attended the event, which was mediated by Lauren Gawne.

This month’s topic dealt with the advantages as well as the difficulties and problems caused by open access publishing. We specifically focused on open access publishing, although the discussion is obviously closely related to issues in open access archiving and open access data sets. Among the participants, different perspectives on the topic were represented: While some linguists considered themselves primarily as consumers of (open access) publishing, others could contribute their own experiences having worked as publishers and/or editors.

After everyone had presented themselves and stated their connection to the topic, the relevance of the topic in current events was mentioned. In particular, we discussed the events around the editorial board of Lingua leaving their publisher Elsevier in order to start a new open-access journal called Glossa.

The recent movements towards open-access require not only new policies in digital rights management, but also different concepts of funding. The participants of the discussion contributed several new ways of funding open access publishing: While academic publishing could be funded directly by (non-)governmental research foundations, new subscription systems for libraries are an alternative.

The participants with a publishing/editing background stressed the payment of editors, typesetters and other staff involved in publishing. Without their work, the quality of a publication could not be ensured. Some Open Access publications are operated on volunteer labour, or cheap student labour, which is more likely in US institutions than UK institutions.

Other issues discussed included the role of academia.org. Uploading your own papers to this site can go against the publishing contract that is signed, particularly with a commercial publisher. It was mentioned that the publisher Elsevier generally claims all rights for published texts and therefore sues people that upload their papers online.

The students and researchers were especially concerned about the informal exchange of digital copies of academic papers. The inner conflict between respecting digital rights and expanding research with relevant papers that they would otherwise have no access to has been experienced by a lot of the participants. Even the hashtag #Icanhaspdf on Twitter has become popular and is used now to exchange digital copies online.

Toolbox to Elan

In the spirit of solving small frustrations I offer my weekend experience of getting Toolbox files into Elan. I have over a hundred texts in Nafsan, most of which are time-aligned and interlinearised. I am working with Stefan Schnell on adding GRAID annotation to some of these texts and the preferred way of doing this is in Elan, with the GRAID annotation at the morphemic-level. I tried importing Toolbox files using the Elan ‘Import’ menu, and had listed all field markers in Toolbox, together with their internal dependencies (which should then map to Elan’s relationship between tiers). These settings are stored in an external file. Unfortunately, the import failed several times, despite changing the settings slightly after each attempt. Continue reading ‘Toolbox to Elan’ »

PARADISEC activity update

We are working on a collection of tapes made by Mary Ayres, Ph.D. during doctoral research conducted between 1979 and 1981 in numerous dialects from two language groups in the Morehead District, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. At ANU we have started working on Don Kulick’s recordings of Gapun (PNG). In Sydney and Melbourne we are working to digitise tapes from the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, including some of Terry Crowley’s Paama tapes and Wolfgang Sperlich’s Namakira among many others.

In Melbourne we continue to work on Alan Walker’s Timor recordings and have a volunteer, Epi Dowling, scanning field notebooks. We are also working through Darrell Tryon’s tapes and will soon start on the last set of Ian Green’s recordings from the Daly region.

In Sydney we have just digitised Melissa Crowther’s tapes from Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea of Barupu, Puare and Rawo language materials. PARADISEC is also providing expert assistance to a Linkage Project based at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, digitising important recordings associated with the Central Land Council. We have started with Petronella Vaarzon-Morel’s tapes recorded from the 1970s onwards, and are working with our Canberra partners, DAMsmart to digitize some unusual film and video formats.

Urban Fieldwork: A LIPIL discussion

Martha Tsutsui recaps last week’s Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL), a monthly informal gathering of linguists to discuss topical areas in our field.

The third LIPIL gathering was held at The Perseverance on November 10, 2015. Mediated by Charlotte Hemmings a gathering of linguists assembled to discuss the topic of “urban fieldwork”.

First to be considered was the question “what is urban fieldwork?” Several definitions were put forth and discussed. Some suggestions included fieldwork done “in city centres”, “in dense areas of immigrants/expats/displaced peoples”, or “in multilingual and multi-ethnic areas”. The issue of what makes urban fieldwork specifically urban was also examined. Is it the size of the city? The lifestyle of the inhabitants? The degree of cosmopolitanism? Can urban fieldwork be done in rural areas if the speakers are members of diaspora groups? The existence of pockets of diaspora groups in rural areas with limited contact was mentioned. Would fieldwork with such groups nevertheless be considered “urban”? Many members agreed that the term “urban fieldwork” is most usefully viewed as a relative term, on a continuum rather than as a dichotomy of “urban” vs. “rural” or “urban” vs. “in situ”.

Continue reading ‘Urban Fieldwork: A LIPIL discussion’ »

Why document endangered languages? A LIPIL discussion

Martha Tsutsui recaps last week’s Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL), a monthly informal gathering of linguists to discuss topical areas in our field.

The second Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL) event was held on October 6th at The Perseverance and was attended by students and faculty from SOAS and other nearby universities. The discussion topic of the evening was “Why Document Endangered Languages?” Everyone present agreed that documenting languages was generally a good idea, but had different reasons for supporting this activity.

Throughout the discussion, common misconceptions about language loss and language documentation were brought up. Group members report finding that the general public can often be short-sighted in regards to the issue and often react with remarks and sentiments of “why bother?” In part, it is this public lack of understanding that hinders the fight for endangered languages. Continue reading ‘Why document endangered languages? A LIPIL discussion’ »

PARADISEC activity update

During September we negotiated with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to assist in digitising their reel-to-reel tape collection. We now have 70 of their tapes in the queue, representing work done in Malakula and in Efate since the 1960s.

Zygmunt Frajzyngier deposited his collection of various African language recordings and they will be accessioned in the near future.

Hidden treasure in the collection

In this item, Tom Dutton is talking with Ken Pike who first coined the notion of ‘etic’ and ’emic’ analysis and who was the first President of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). This recording was made in 1962 about working with Australian languages. You can hear it here (once you are signed in to the catalog).

Continue reading ‘PARADISEC activity update’ »

A fruitful day in Copenhagen

No one likes the term ‘entomophogy’, and perhaps even fewer people know what it means. The title of the journal ‘Insects as food & feed’ is a deliberate move away from it, but even the term ‘edible insect’ is not unproblematic. According to GREEiNSECT researcher Afton Halloran, in many cultures the question ‘Do you eat insects?’ can get a negative response, whereas asking about a particularly species more often yields ‘yes’. Some Kaytetye speakers prefer the word ‘witchetty’ to ‘grub’; coining terms such as ‘whitewood witchetty’ and ‘river red gum witchetty’ as translations of the various edible larvae, a semantic extension also found in Kaytetye.

The pejorative overtones of English ‘grub’ and ‘insect’ reflects a preference in English to use a culinary name for animals as food. Consider ‘meat/animal’, ‘venison/deer’ etc. When the Kangaroo Industry sought a culinary term for skippy, they may have done better had they adopted marlu (Warlpiri) instead of the neologism ‘australus’. For ‘edible insects’ a similarly palatable set of sounds for English speakers might be tjapa (Western Arrarnta).

Continue reading ‘A fruitful day in Copenhagen’ »

Fieldwork in multilingual communities: A LIPIL discussion

Lauren Gawne recaps last week’s Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL), a monthly informal gathering of linguists to discuss topical areas in our field.

Our first LIPIL was well attended, with participants from the African Multilingualism conference and ELDP training joining London locals. In keeping with the theme of the conference, we discussed language documentation in multilingual contexts. The conversation involved a number of researchers who focus on documenting language use in multilingual communities. Members of the Crossroads project at SOAS and Pierpaolo Di Carlo from SUNY Buffalo shared their experiences in an African context, and Ruth Singer from Melbourne University shared her experience in Australia.

Many of those present at LIPIL who now work with multilingualism started out documenting a particular variety of a language of the area, often the ‘ancestral code’. The move to thinking about multiple languages often came about in an attempt to better capture the daily communicative realities of individuals. This is a major research transition if the attempt is to be done well.

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Every hill got a story oral history just out

Every hill got a story: we grew up in country w51TVk4uaX0L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_as launched this afternoon at Alice Springs Telegraph Station. A companion multimedia site is hosted by SBS Books. The substantial volume is sold by SBS Books and is also available on Kindle.

The volume by ‘men and women of central Australia and the Central Land Council’ is compiled and edited by Marg Bowman, carrying on from the late Jane Hodson, long term anchor of the CLC media section.

Continue reading ‘Every hill got a story oral history just out’ »

Introducing LIPIL: Linguistics in the Pub in London

Linguistics in the Pub (LIP) expands beyond Australia, with Linguistics in the Pub in London (LIPIL). Our first LIPIL will be:

Fieldwork in multilingual communities (Guest participant Dr. Ruth Singer)

Date:             Monday 7th September 2015
Time:             6:00 – 8:00 pm
Venue:           Upstairs room, The Lamb (94 Lambs Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3LZ)
Food and drinks available at the venue.

Contact Lauren Gawne with any questions: lg21@soas.ac.uk
You can receive future LIPIL announcements by signing up to the RNLD mailing list: http://www.rnld.org/node/5

UPDATE: We now have a LIPIL Facebook page for updates, and you can RSVP

Continue reading ‘Introducing LIPIL: Linguistics in the Pub in London’ »