Research Articles

Archives and audiences: Toward making endangered language documentations people can read, use, understand, and admire

Author
  • Anthony C. Woodbury

Abstract

Language documentation leads to the accumulation of linguistic records in vast quantity. Digital archives of language documentation have, of course, much in common with traditional ones. Still, digital archives are different. These differences all have impacts on how archives are conceived, and on what we ask of them. In effect archives are becoming a means for communicating results to a wide range of audiences. And this in turn may affect how archives work with more traditional corpora whose creators (or assemblers) assign to themselves a less explicitly authorial role. In this paper I want to make some suggestions for how language documenters can properly pursue this view of their work. I want to explore how documenters might produce documentations that people can read, use, understand and admire: documentations that genuinely address their audiences. I also want to explore how archives can accommodate such efforts. And I want to explore what audiences themselves can contribute, so that the efforts do not grow in a vacuum.

Keywords: endangered languages, language documentation, linguistic records, archives, audience

How to Cite:

Woodbury, A., (2014) “Archives and audiences: Toward making endangered language documentations people can read, use, understand, and admire”, Language Documentation and Description 12, 19-36. doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/ldd161

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Published on
31 Jul 2014
Peer Reviewed