Writing grammars for the community

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A language is a living soul to a community, a source of dignity and prestige for all people. Once it dies, the whole community dies. A written grammar can support a community by encouraging the use of a community language. Sometimes, however, grammars are ways that outsiders "mine" a local community for the outsiders' benefit, leaving the community of speakers with nothing. This paper discusses the need for linguistic grammars from the perspective of the community in which the language is used. Arguments for including local concerns in grammar writing are presented. One approach to writing a grammar that will serve the needs of linguists and the community is partnership. University professors, field linguists, retired field workers and others can work with local linguists to write grammars that will truly meet the needs of all.


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