What can revitalization work teach us about documentation?

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As language documentation gains recognition as an important methodology for linguistics, and as communities mount ever more impressive revitalization projects, the interests of academic and community scholars are converging. It is useful to look to those involved in revitalization for their views on what they treasure most in the existing records of their languages and what they wish were there. Decisions about documentation are tightly bound up with ideas about what constitutes the essence of a language. If a language is viewed as encompassing such things as discourse structure, styles of interaction, constructions that meld structure and substance, prefabricated collocations and idiomatic expressions, recurring lexical choices, and conventionalized prosodic structures, then all of these must be part of the record.


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