Research Articles

The role of digital video in language documentation

  • Louise Ashmore


This paper discusses the role of video in language documentation. As more linguists take up video for language documentation work, recommendations have been made for researchers working in situations where languages are endangered to ‘make as many video recordings as possible to document as much as we can before it is too late’ (Wittenburg 2007:5). Drawing on recent discussion about the use of video from publications (Nathan 2007; McConvell 2007; Wittenburg 2007), in training courses and in the informal domain of linguists’ forums and blogs this paper focuses on the methodological implications of using video for language documentation rather than specific equipment and tools. In order to develop methodologies, training and priorities for video use that are ‘responsive’ to individual language situations while also planning for future archive deposits, it becomes important to consider why and how video is currently being used for language documentation, what types of video records are being produced and how the resulting records may be evaluated.

Keywords: language documentation, video, methodology, training, priorities, challenges, evaluation criteria, audio-visual language data

How to Cite:

Ashmore, L., (2014) “The role of digital video in language documentation”, Language Documentation and Description 5, 77-102. doi:

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Published on
31 Jul 2014
Peer Reviewed