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ZBB Census 2016
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Author:  kodé [ Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ZBB Census 2016

Vijay wrote:
It can get you in trouble with like everybody. It can get you in trouble with their haters because they hate people doing anything remotely nice for them. It can get you in trouble with the people themselves because how are they supposed to know what your motivations are for documenting their language (and in particular, whether it will benefit them, hurt them, or neither)? It can get you in trouble with funding agencies because they don't get why it's important. It can get you in trouble with fellow colleagues because of politics within academia...so yeah.

Such true. I've experienced this, and to tell you the truth, it makes sense why member of communities, especially minority or persecuted or discriminated communities, would be suspicious as to what the hell this weird outsider really wants.

Author:  jmcd [ Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ZBB Census 2016

kodé wrote:
kuroda wrote:
Not sure whether it's fieldy-enough work to count, but as far as high-risk linguistics go, I've been the target of death threats and a casual rifle potshot -- along with the language speakers who brought me on look at documenting/revitalizing their language. It turns out a lot of white boys were really angry that they decided to let their language go, when it 'belongs to humanity', i.e., to white boys.

Not sure exactly what you're referring to, but it seems like it has to do with people outside of a community being angry that the community hasn't been preserving their language. This is a tricky issue for field linguists: as lovers of language, of course we want all languages to be preserved, but really, a language belongs to a community (or several), and if the community doesn't want to use a certain language, it's pretty imperialist to judge them for that. Peter Ladefoged, who did a hell of a lot of fieldwork in his career, once penned an article explaining to other linguists several reason why a community member might not want to preserve their ancestral tongue. It's one thing to personally disagree with them on the intrinsic value of every language, but insisting the community is wrong or short-sighted or deserved to be shot at is pretty vile imperialism.


What if they only started thinking that because of a colonial government told them to? Is that imperialist counter-imperialism?

Variation within a linguistic community is worth considering.
Attitudes towards creole here from locals run the gamut from "it should be an official language and obligatory in schools" to "This is France/Creole doesn't help us; we ought to speak French"
Pretty much any position taken entails agreeing with one segment of the population. Although I suppose my example is a bit more populous than if it was a language only spoken by one or two communities. But I suspect the same principle may also work in those populations.

Author:  kuroda [ Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ZBB Census 2016

kodé wrote:
Not sure exactly what you're referring to, but it seems like it has to do with people outside of a community being angry that the community hasn't been preserving their language.


Yes, that's the kind of situation I meant. More specifically, the last remaining speakers/semi-speakers, together with the majority of the elders, decided to stop language documentation efforts, and to stop supporting or participating in education/revitalization efforts for the young.

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