Carol, Elise, and Mali-Beth are presenting today at L’nui’sultinej in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, a conference about Mi’gmaq language education.
Their presentation is called “Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaw Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching: A community-linguistics partnership” and is based on their experiences learning the language and documenting the language course in summer 2012. You can download their slides on the Research page.
Coming up in two and a half weeks, McGill will be hosting a computational field (linguistics) workshop.
On May 27th, we’ll have two talks and a wine & cheese reception: iLanguage Lab will be presenting about LingSync, and Alexis Palmer, a postdoc working for SEASIDE, will be giving a talk entitled “Computational Linguistics for Low-Resource Languages.”
May 28th, we’ll have two workshops and two talks: iLanguage will host a session entitled “Plugging in to LingSync” and Alexis Palmer will coordinate one focusing on what exactly one should do with field linguistic data. Our talks will be from Erin Olson (presenting on the Prosodylab’s Forced Aligner and its use in segmental analysis) and Robert Henderson (“Reclaiming SIL Bibles for Linguistic Research”).
More details available in our newly-minted workshop section!
From April 16th to 19th, Elise, Mike, Erin, and Carol went to Listuguj to talk about the future endeavours of the Mi’gmaq Research Partnership. Mike collected Mi’gmaw data for his work with the help of many patient and diligent Listuguj Education Directorate collaborators. Elise, Carol, and Erin discussed further developments for digital supports, resources, references for the Mi’gmaw language classes taught at the LED. These digital supports will enable learners to practice Mi’gmaw remotely. Resources like the wiki page are readily available to those wishing to know more of the structure of the language. One digital support, CAN 8, has already been implemented in Mi’gmaw classes in the region. The McGill collaborators visited Sugarloaf Senior High School where CAN 8 is being used in the Mi’gmaw classroom. The students gave positive feedback about this program.
Carol will have the opportunity to work further on projects like CAN 8 as well as continuing to collaborate with LED teachers for course curricula documentation on site this summer. Elise will also be making trips to Listuguj working on digital supports as well as references and resources for learners and speakers alike.
In May, many members of the Mi’gmaq Research Partnership (MRP) will be going to the L’nui’sultinej Conference in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. There will be an hour long workshop on Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaq Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching given by members of the MRP discussing how linguists, learners, and speakers can collaborate inside and outside of the language classroom. See Elise’s post for more information.
The L’nui’sultinej Conference is the place to be for Mi’gmaq speakers and learners; as such, we are proud to announce that we are planning on going to Antigonish to talk about our projects and our classes!
As the organizers say on their site:
“L’nui’sultinej na tesipunqek mawita’mk wjit Mi’kmaq Kisna ta’n pasik wen ta’n ketu’ kinu’tmasit l’nui’sin kwlaman kisi klo’tesnu ksitunnu iapjiw. Ula mawita’mk wjit msit wen aqq ta’n pasik wen wlta’sualaten.
L’nui’sultinej is an annual conference which brings together Mi’kmaq people from across the Mi’kmaq Nation to look at education issues related to language preservation, enhancement and revitalization. It is a conference for parents youth, elders, community members, educators, administrators, counselors and researchers. We welcome all Mi’kmaq into the circle whatever their level of language proficiency.”
Mali-Beth, Carol, and I (Elise) will be attending the conference to talk about how linguists and speakers and learners can work together, inside and outside a language classroom. We hope to see you there!
Ke Kula Mauli Ola Hawaiʻi ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, or Living Hawaiian Life-Force School, is located in Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi. Elise McClay and Carol Little had the opportunity to tour this school on March 4th. The school is like any other school you would find in the United States, except that all courses are taught in the Hawaiian language. Oh, and not to forget that in the school playground are pineapple gardens and pigpens. This school teaches their students all subjects from Math to Social Studies to History to Japanese using the Hawaiian language. English, which is introduced in the 6th grade, is taught in English, however.
The school opened its doors in the 1980s. At this time, there were only a handful of speakers of the Hawaiian language and only about 45 under the age of 18. The Hawaiian language was falling into near extinction. Dedicated and devoted teachers promoted the usage of the Hawaiian language at this school. Now, there are around 300 students who matriculate there, many students having attended since kindergarten or pre-school. Throughout the hallways, students of all ages can be heard chattering in Hawaiian. The classrooms are full of posters and pictures with Hawaiian text. Some students of Nawahi now use Hawaiian at home as their primary language, after having learned it at school. Many students say they will raise their children in this language and hope that their children can also attend a Hawaiian language immersion school.
It was truly an enlightening and empowering experience to see such a successful language revitalization program. This does not happen over night, though. Many of the teachers have been there from the beginning and can attest to the many hardships they encountered and overcome which ultimately led to its success.
School Grounds at Nawahi Hawaiian language immersion school where students learn to tend to plants, many times using Hawaiian practices.
Students not only learn subjects like math and history but also how to take care of pigs and plants.
Pineapple plants growing on the school grounds at the Nawahi school.
This list quickly sums up a few of the presentations I really enjoyed at ICLDC, in no particular order. The days were very packed, so sadly I only got to see a fraction of the interesting talks that were happening from 9-5:30 every day (in 6 different conference rooms!), but hopefully this gives you a quick idea of the types of great conversations and work that is being done by linguists, language revitalizationists, and language conservationists around the world.
- What does it meme? Lexicography for a new generation of language learners (Patricia Anderson, Tulane University)
- The Tunica Rebirth Project makes vocabulary-building pretty darn funny!
- Based off the model of image+text memes like Philosoraptor, it uses simple meme generators to pair pictures and words in a format that most internet-fluent youths will easily recognize
- The Algonquian Online Interactive Linguistic Atlas (Marie-Odile Junker, Nicole Rosen, Hélène St-Onge, Arok Wolvengrey, Mimie Neacappo)
- This website maps a lot of different dialects of various Algonquian languages, putting equivalent sentences (for instance, translations of “This is my mother.”) side-by-side on the map. You can choose to use the website in English, French, or without colonial languages altogether.
- All their technology (using Python and MySQL) is open-source and non-proprietary, so this model could easily be adjusted to show language variation in other language families as well.
- The documentary linguist as facilitator: The view from Trung (Dulong) (Ross Perlin, University of Bern)
- As linguists we have to find ways of situating our own roles in communities studying languages that we may not speak.
- One potential model we can draw from is the literature on being a facilitator, placing “a focus on process and group dynamics, impartiality or neutrality, the evoking of participation, trust and consensus-building, and resource aggregation.”
- Sharing worlds of knowledge: Research protocols for communities (Andria Wilhelm, Universities of Victoria and of Alberta; Connie Cheecham, Northern Lights School District)
- Copyright law and other legal measures are generally insufficient when it comes to protecting Indigenous communities, specifically with respect to intangible property like linguistic expertise.
- It is important for researchers to collaboratively form concrete research protocols with their community/the community they are working with!
- These protocols may address guidelines for principles of respect, ownership & profit, informed consent, access, fixation, and any other facets are relevant to your work.
- Developing a regional Master-Apprentice training network in Australia (Gwendolyn Hyslop, Australian National University)
- Last year, Leanne Hinton and others led workshops for representatives from 31 Indigenous language communities in order to instruct them in the best strategies for engaging in the Master-Apprentice Program.
- They practiced (among other techniques) non-verbal communication, going through wordless books in the language, listening and repetition, immersion sets, talking about modern items/new vocabulary, games for counting, and puppet play.
- The goal of these sessions was to “train the trainer” and form a network of MAP groups throughout Australia–it was more popular than anticipated, and they had to run 3 workshops instead of the planned 1!
- People generally found that language pods, where 3-6 people engage in immersion together, felt more comfortable and natural than the usual MAP pair system of a single speaker and a single learner.
- We should try these out, too! And it would be great to get Leanne Hinton out for a workshop, no?
- Developing consistency by consensus: Avoiding fiat in language revitalization (Lance Twitchell, University of Alaska Southeast; James Crippen, University of British Columbia)
- The Tlingit language has a lot of sounds, to put it lightly. Developing an orthography was a bit of a problem, and for a while there were two separate writing systems. Over time, speakers merged the best features of each into what is known as the ‘email’ orthography to some people, a process that happened gradually, by internal consensus rather than external decree.
- This presentation said that standards should be violable; mistakes should be okay, since a language is owned by everybody who uses it; it is helpful to standardize aspects of the language until wide usage, not after.
Elise, Carol, and Jessica set off a few days ago to present Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaq Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching: A Community-Linguistics Partnership, a collaborative work by Elise McClay, Carol Little, Mary-Beth Wysote, Madeleine Metallic, Sarah Vicaire, Travis Wysote, Janine Metallic, and Jessica Coon. They presented this poster at the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation held in Honolulu at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sharing Worlds of Knowledge”. People from around the world come to present what they are doing in the realm of language documentation and conservation. Researchers, linguists, teachers, even botanists and physicists, come to learn, share, and contribute their research and perspectives making this truly an interdisciplinary platform for language documentation and conservation.
Elise McClay and Carol Little with poster at ICLDC 2013
Since we’re getting a lot of work done with the LingSync application* from the programming side of things, we decided it was high time we start using it the way it was intended to be used; as a database making it easier for us to share data and collaborate.
As we’ve started putting in data, we’ve been laying down some conventions for us to follow in the rest of the database. This blog seemed like a good place to discuss the conventions we’ve established, and an even better place to debate new conventions for areas we haven’t fully fleshed out yet (verbs…).
All of this information and more is stored also on the specific wiki page for LingSync glossing: http://wiki.migmaq.org/index.php?title=LingSync_Glosses
Our general guiding principles are as follow:
- Gloss everything–no defaults!
- This is mainly to make search easier and more intuitive. If we had, for instance, “animate” as the understood default person and only glossed inanimate morphology as such, it would be very difficult to get a datalist of all animate words. Having no default glossing means that all our glosses will be very explicit and therefore easy to search.
- This will be painful at the start, but once we have enough data in there, LingSync will autogloss and make our lives much easier! Hang in there.
- When in doubt, don’t parse it out!
- Only separate morphemes if you and a collaborator are completely, 100% sure that they are separable. Make sure you pass your theory by someone else’s eyes first, too!
- Feel free to use dots frequently in your glosses. It is safer, generally speaking, to group morphemes (and later split them up) than it is to be over-enthusiastic about splitting them up (and later having to go back and re-group).
- In general, be faithful to the surface/pronounced form when drawing morpheme boundaries. (ie match the morpheme line to the utterance line as closely as possible)
- Please use the Notes section to leave comments about phonology if you think there is a predictable process going on!
- (One exception is the palatalization of ‘t’ at morpheme boundaries. Throughout LingSync we will assume that t -> j / _-i, so it is safe to have the utterance and morpheme lines different here.)
As far as specifics go, there is more information on the wiki page itself (WordPress hyperlinks seem broken, here’s the address again http://wiki.migmaq.org/index.php?title=LingSync_Glosses ).
Please use the comments to discuss…
- Verbs! Since we are glossing with the maximal amount of information, including tense and mood (ie. present indicative), where should we put this information? So far we’ve been sticking it onto the end of the root using dots (ie. tli’ma-tis = tell.TA.PRES.IND-1SG>2SG). Any other suggestions for the placement of tense/aspect/mood?
- Verbs part 2! How should we identify the difference between various evidentialities? And what about tense, aspect, mood? Right now we’re marking present indicative, imperative, future, evidential past, inferentialiOpen discussion in comments below!
*(The LingSync extension can be found here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lingsync/ocmdknddgpmjngkhcbcofoogkommjfoj )
Every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30, Algonquian Reading Group meets in room 117 in the McGill Linguistics Building located on 1085 Dr. Penfield. Those interested meet to discuss papers on Algonquian linguistics.
This Thursday January 31, Alan Bale will be presenting Murray’s 2012 paper on Quantificational and Illocutionary Variability in Cheyenne.
Please contact email@example.com if you would like to be added to the Algonquian Reading Group mailing list.