Redefining priorities, methods and standards in endangered-language lexicography

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Based on our ten-year fieldwork on Palikur (Arawakan) in French Guyana, this paper discusses the need for researchers (assisted by native speakers) to devote more time and energy to documenting the lexicons of endangered languages (EL) and the urgency to focus on the parts of the lexicon that are subject to strong lexical erosion, in order to allow the transmission of saved knowledge to younger generations. It also describes the main difficulties in documenting these sections of the lexicon and advocates the need for new principles, methods and standards in EL lexicography so as to obtain more complete and satisfactory information for interdisciplinary work, for tool, knowledge and content sharing, and finally for dismissing an all-or-nothing approach according to which incomplete lexicographical descriptions and knowledge should not be published.


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