ERIC Number: ED466977
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
Early Vocabularies and Dictionary Development: A Cautionary Note.
Rudes, Blair A.
Early vocabularies of a language can help indigenous communities retrieve lost or forgotten vocabulary. Currently, there are very few fluent speakers of Tuscarora. As in other native communities, efforts are underway to reverse the decline in native language usage. One advantage the Tuscaroras have is that, since 1700, numerous researchers have recorded the language. Extensive vocabularies, texts, and a manuscript dictionary from the 19th Century exist. These materials were hidden away in various archives until recently. The paper presents lessons learned from two decades of experience re-eliciting data from early manuscript sources. One lesson is the importance of the decision about whether or not to take data from an earlier manuscript at face value or re-elicit the data from contemporary speakers. Another lesson concerns difficulties involved in figuring out what earlier researchers had actually recorded, since all languages change over time, and early sources may reflect earlier pronunciations, meanings, and vocabulary. Benefits of using early vocabularies include the fact that they can elicit memories of words that have been forgotten or lost. Five rules are provided for re-eliciting vocabulary from contemporary speakers: re-elicit, triangulate, compare, check credentials, and omit. (SM)
Descriptors: American Indian Languages, American Indians, Dictionaries, Indigenous Populations, Language Maintenance, Language Usage, Uncommonly Taught Languages, Vocabulary Development
For full text: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILAC.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A