Creating Sustainable Models of Language Documentation and Revitalization

–A chapter appearing in 2017 in Perspectives on Language and Linguistics: Community-Based Research

In this chapter, I will focus on collaborative work done in conjunction with UT Arlington’s Native American Languages Lab and with our partners.  These projects thus serve as a training-oriented case study, which I use to make several key claims about models of community-based language research. From this case study, I make the following claims.  First, work in the Oklahoma region shows itself as a sustainable model that has endured over a relatively long time period as far as language revitalization is concerned. Second, that this sustainability is possible when training includes certain fundamental properties (outlined further below) and when training is characterizable in terms that I describe as polyhedral, dynamic, decentered in authority and complex.  I further argue that where there are sustainable, effective models of endangered language research, these models thrive because they critically blur the distinction between revitalization and documentation.  Finally, despite not being explicitly community-driven (at least in its current incarnation), I demonstrate that this case study exemplifies one instantiation of a community-based language research model.

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