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Native California Linguistics in the 21st Century: Digital Repatriation and the Uses of Language Documentation

Andrew Garrett
University of California, Berkeley
October 28, 2016 - 3:30pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Greenberg Room (460-126)

In this talk I'll describe collaborative work being done at Berkeley to build infrastructure and tools that serve linguists and Native communities in their shared work with California's 90-100 indigenous languages. Since 1901, linguistic research has taken knowledge from within communities to archives at Berkeley in both written and audio form, where it has mostly been inaccessible. Current collaborative work focuses on two kinds of project: language-specific lexical and text databases that can be used for language restoration purposes and for research into phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics; and text and media repatriation through, for example, the redigitization of a unique corpus of 2,700 wax cylinder recordings made beginning in 1901. The latter constitute precious cultural treasures as well as rare linguistic windows onto languages that have not had first-language speakers for decades.

Event Type: 
Linguistics Colloquium