Monthly Archives: January 2017

The language-speaker relationship

Dear All,

At Language Landscape, we have decided to re-design our database a bit in 2017. We have recently realised that for all the amazing recordings we have on the website, we actually know very little about how the people who made them and appear in them relate to the languages they speak. At present, when users add recordings to the website, we have no way of knowing – other than listening to them and trying to evaluate their fluency – what their relationship is to the language they chose to record.

We want to include some parameters on the website that would allow us to quantify this in a more precise manner. So far we have thought of three aspects that clarify the speaker-language relationship:

1) The speaker’s relationship to the place where the recording was made (local, tourist, temporary resident,….)

2) language proficiency (fluent, intermediate, beginner,…..)

3) The speaker’s relationship to the language  (mother-tongue, one of multiple mother-tongues, language of education, heritage language, …..)

We really hope to get this right from the start, and that’s why we would like to hear what you think about these categories, and what your thoughts are on any additional categories or choices we should give to our users. The reason for including this extra information is to make the data on the website more transparent, and also easier to use in language-related research.

It would be great to know your thoughts on the relationship of the speaker to the language. We’d also appreciate suggestions for any relevant readings!

Karolina and Samantha at LDLT5

Samantha and Karolina both presented papers last month at the bi-annual Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory conference (LDLT5) hosted at SOAS, University of London, 3rd-4th December 2016. Karolina’s paper was on “Two aspects of common ground management: information structure and epistemic meaning in Tena Kichwa”, which was one of the key topics of her PhD thesis, which was recently passed with minor corrections. Samantha presented (jointly with Miriam Weidl) a talk about methodology titled “Documentation of speakers’ linguistic practices in two sociolinguistically diverse settings in the Casamance, Senegal.” Both talks were warmly received with engaged discussions in the Q&A sessions.