Chickasaw Language Collaboration
Our collaboration dates to 2010, catalyzed by a service-learning trip that year, with UT Arlington students and Fitzgerald visiting Joshua Hinson and the Chickasaw Language Revitalization. Service-learning has formed the foundation of this community-based research
collaboration (Fitzgerald and Hinson 2013). More recently, this work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (grants to Fitzgerald, BCS-1263699 and to Hinson, BCS-1263698) to document and analyze the Chickasaw verb. Some of those techniques focus on narratives as outlined in a recent paper.
Attention to how this documentation functions to support revitalization is also a key question under investigation in this work. The model used is shown, where revitalization plays a key role in building off linguistic analyses and integrating documentation. One way has been through Chickasaw Listening Workshops, where collection of narratives and other data is mobilized in group settings with both learners and fluent speakers. Other results from this project include a publication on “Morphology in the Muskogean Languages.”
Pronunciation and Revitalization for Indigenous Languages
Second language pronunciation is an under-researched topic, and it is even less understood in terms of learners acquiring (endangered) indigenous languages. From practice to theory to pedagogy, here are some projects addressing questions in this area of research:
- Chickasaw Listening Workshops (with Joshua Hinson of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program)
- Teaching Pronunciation for Indigenous Languages, a CoLang 2016 workshop presented with Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins of the University of Victoria (BC)
- “The Sounds of Indigenous Language Revitalization,” a plenary on these issues given at the 2017 Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting (video includes powerpoint slides)
- Integrating the verbal arts into language revitalization as a tool for acquiring pronunciation of an indigenous language and supporting teacher training and materials development, as discussed in a forthcoming paper, “Motivating the Documentation of the Verbal Arts: Arguments from Theory and Practice“
Mobilizing language documentation into language reclamation and restoration is a key part of this research agenda.
Sustainability in Language Documentation and Revitalization
Tremendous amounts of time, energy and funding have been devoted to language documentation and revitalization, especially since the early 1990s clarion call raising awareness about the crisis of language endangerment. What is working? Are there elements that successful models have in common? Some of these questions are being looked at in the following work:
- Collaborative learning and collaborative mentoring in the endangered language communities of Texas and Oklahoma, a paper presented at a panel on Perspectives on language and linguistics: Community-based research (CBR)
- Sustainable models of Language Documentation and Revitalization, a paper in a forthcoming volume being put out by Mouton de Gruyter.
Linguistic Theories and Analysis
Research in this area has focused on Tohono O’odham (a Uto-Aztecan language), and Chickasaw and related Muskogean languages.
- “Morphology in the Muskogean Languages,” a review article on the nonlinear and other complex processes found in this language family
- Prosodic inconsistency in Tohono O’odham: rhythm and prosodic morphology offer different perspectives on the role played by quantity, with a split between rhythm and prosodic morphology along quantitative lines (International Journal of American Linguistics paper)
- A detailed examination on the behavior of the three high vowels of Tohono O’odham, drawing data from a range of sources and genres (“Revisiting Tohono O’odham High Vowels” in a John Benjamins volume)