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.
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.
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 )
This October was the 44th Algonquian Conference at the University of Chicago. Many of our Mi’gmaq Research Partnership members presented.
Alan Bale and Jessica Coon presented “Classifiers are for numerals, not nouns: Evidence from Mi’gmaq and Chol.” at the 43rd Northeast Linguistics Society (NELS) in New York, NY where Alan also had a poster presentation of “Agreement without AGREE: Disjunction in Mi’gmaq.”
More recently Mike and Gretchen both presented at The 2012-3 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) in Boston, MA. Mike presented “Against Non-configurationality in Mi’gmaq” and Gretchen “Preverb Ordering in Mi’gmaq”
And stay tuned for Elise and Carol’s poster presentation of “Student perspectives on Mi’gmaq language-learning through multi-modal teaching: A community-linguistics partnership” at the University of Hawai’i's at the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation on February 28th.
In this Huffington Post article, 25-year-old Clyde Tallio of British Columbia leads the reclamation of the Nuxalk language. He has been teaching Nuxalk at the community’s school for five years. He believes there is an ever increasing interest especially among the youth to learn Nuxalk.
Similar efforts have been happening with Squamish, also in BC. Finding that traditional language classes in school were not creating speakers, Dustin Rivers began hosting Language Nights. During these Language Nights, participants have an opportunity to practice and learn Squamish in a “informal, collaborative environment”.
22-year-old Dustin says: ”There’s a lot of benefit in reclaiming our culture and saying for ourselves that we have problems, but we’re going to solve them and our culture and traditional values are going to lead us in finding these solutions.”
The above is a TED talk about why listening is extremely important when one wants to help someone. This is a very important thing to keep in mind when trying to help out!
I just came across this Learning Guide for Anishinaabemowin, which is a community-driven reference book about the language created by Maya Chacaby with Alex McKay and Keren Rice.
The Kikinowaawiiyemon, or Language teaching circle guide, was created after several years of research and consultation. Key to its development was the overwhelming demand by language learners and community organizations for Anishinaabe-based language teaching tools. In essence, the Kikinowaawiiyemon is a grammar structured around Anishinaabe worldview. (pg. 17)
It has some very accessible explanations about the structure of the language, balancing traditional/cultural ways of knowing with a minimum of linguistics terminology. Some examples are the explanations of animacy (pg. 19-20 using Anishinaabe terms rather than animate and inanimate), person (pg. 24 the diagrams for 1st/2nd/3rd persons), and transitivity (pg. 28). Not all of their explanations would work for Mi’gmaq (for example the Eastern/Western hemisphere distinction between Independent and Conjunct doesn’t happen the same way, pg. 27), but I thought the examples might be interesting or useful to anyone working on grammar lessons or on the wiki.
While writing this post, I also came across another paper by Maya Chacaby “A Report on Best Practice Models for Tertiary Indigenous Language Learning” which also looks very interesting.