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Melbourne Linguistics in the Pub: Literacy in the field, 19 May 2015

University of Melbourne

Date: 19 May 2015

When:  6:00 - 8:00 pm, Tuesday 19th May 2015
Where: Upstairs room, Prince Alfred Hotel, 191 Grattan St, Carlton (corner of Bouverie St)  ph (03) 9347-3033
: Ruth Singer

Literacy in the field: how do the communities we work with use vernacular literacy?
In 2011, Felix Ameka (Leiden U) led a great discussion of whether we need literacy at all for language documentation. Given how it ultimately enforces standardization where there may not have been any before, he asked whether we can perhaps just bypass literacy and use audiovisual recordings as our documentation product. However, some communities already engage in literacy in the language that we are documenting (Kral 2015). In addition, most linguists find we need to develop our own literacy in the target language for research purposes.  And communities often expect linguists to produce artefacts such as dictionaries. This LIP will touch on a range of questions that literacy raises for linguists such as:
  1. How if at all, do the communities we work with participate in literacy activities in the language which is the target of the language documentation project ?
  2. How can outputs of language documentation designed for the community bypass vernacular literacy? These are useful for communities who are not literate in the target language and have no great desire to be.
  3. Why do we make dictionaries and how do the we work with communities use them?

For more information, see the Linguistics in the Pub page at RNLD.

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