The July edition of LIP was led by David Gil from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena. The night was well attended with representatives from all the usual suspects: University of Melbourne, Monash, and La Trobe. Attendees this month also came from the University of New England, ANU, as well as from SOAS, London and NTNU, Norway. The evening’s discussion centred on issues related to Malay and Indonesian languages and varieties, but also included discussion of language documentation and description in general. Continue reading ‘The challenge that language variation poses to language description – a LIP recap’ »
Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the Pub’ Category.
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.
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”.
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’ »
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.
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.
UPDATE: We now have a LIPIL Facebook page for updates, and you can RSVP
MLIP recap July 2015: Language in education in multilingual contexts: beyond ‘mother tongue’ education
A recap of last night’s Melbourne Linguistics in the Pub, by Kellen Parker van Dam (La Trobe University).
The topic of MLIP was ‘Language in education in multilingual contexts: beyond ‘mother tongue’ education’ and the discussion was led by Felix Ameka (Leiden University).
Topic and description as posed by Felix Ameka in the original MLIP announcement:
Linguists promote the benefits of “mother-tongue” education, especially in the first years of primary education. Linguistic human rights advocates argue that if a child is not taught in their first language, then the child’s basic linguistic human rights are violated (e.g. Babaci-Wilhite 2014). However the notion of the ‘mother tongue’ is inappropriate in highly multilingual contexts (see e.g. Lüpke and Storch 2013). In these contexts, children can be disadvantaged by ‘mother tongue’ policies in education that favour the use of a single standardised language in education. I will discuss the case of Ewe-speaking children in Sokode, Ghana who use a colloquial Central Ewe variety at home and struggle with the standard Ewe used in the school. I advocate a multi-lectal, multilingual, multi-modal approach to language in education that eschews an opposition between so called exoglossic national languages and local indigenous languages.
Continue reading ‘MLIP recap July 2015: Language in education in multilingual contexts: beyond ‘mother tongue’ education’ »
Harriet Sheppard recaps the May Linguistics in the Pub, a monthly informal gathering of linguists in Melbourne to discuss topical areas in our field.
The May LIP brought together linguists from La Trobe, Monash and the University of Melbourne to discuss vernacular literacy in the communities we work with. The place of vernacular literacy in language documentation programs is a recurring topic that many of us who work with traditionally oral languages come across and must consider as a matter of course throughout our work. As developing an orthography for a language entails a level of standardisation that may not have existed previously for a language, some linguists, such as Ameka (2011), have suggested that we could bypass literacy, replacing written documentation with audiovisual documentation products. However, the reality is that most linguists need to develop our own literacy in the target language in order to conduct research. Frequently communities expect us to produce language resources such as dictionaries and storybooks for the community. In this month’s LIP gathering we discussed how the communities we work with participate in literacy activities in vernacular languages and how outputs of language documentation projects can potentially be better designed for the community. Continue reading ‘Literacy in the field: how do the communities we work with use vernacular literacy?: LIP discussion’ »
Jonathan Schlossberg recaps the April Linguistics in the Pub, a monthly informal gathering of linguists in Melbourne to discuss topical areas in our field.
Topic: Elicitation Methods
In 2011, LIP ran a discussion on techniques and activities used in the field by linguists to elicit particular grammatical phenomena, compare cognition across languages or simply record naturalistic talk-in-interaction. What is new today? We would like to follow on the same idea and give the opportunity to present activities which were successful or unsuccessful in the field. Of particular interest would be activities using grammaticality judgments or aimed at analysing semantic functions, such as aspect.
A small but dedicated cohort representing linguists from Melbourne’s three linguistics departments showed up at April’s LIP to discuss elicitation methodologies, moderated by Giordana Santosuosso.
Harriet Sheppard and Jonathan Schlossberg recap the March Linguistics in the Pub, a monthly informal gathering of linguists in Melbourne to discuss topical areas in our field.
Topic: Is the study of Australian languages at the expense of the study of Australian English variation?
Australian linguists are world renowned for their work on the description and documentation of indigenous languages. It is remarkable (to this outsider), given such a febrile research environment, that so little descriptive work seems to be being done on dialects of Australian English compared to the study of English variation in other nations. Can it really be true that Masterchef Australia has more to contribute to the analysis and documentation of Australian English than Australian linguistics does? I’d be interested in hearing from local (socio) linguists whether they think a focus on indigenous languages will necessarily be at the expense of the regional varieties of English in Australia.
A large contingent turned out for the March LIP, with representatives from Melbourne, Monash and La Trobe Universities, including many sociolinguists. The discussion was led by special guest Prof Miriam Meyerhoff (Victoria University of Wellington).
Continue reading ‘Where have all the AusE sociolinguists gone?’ »