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ERIC Number: EJ1158133
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1934-5275
Documenting Sociolinguistic Variation in Lesser-Studied Indigenous Communities: Challenges and Practical Solutions
Mansfield, John; Stanford, James
Language Documentation & Conservation, SP13 p116-136 2017
Documenting sociolinguistic variation in lesser-studied languages presents methodological challenges, but also offers important research opportunities. In this paper we examine three key methodological challenges commonly faced by researchers who are outsiders to the community. We then present practical solutions for successful variationist research on indigenous languages and meaningful partnerships with local communities. In particular, we draw insights from our research with Australian languages and indigenous languages of rural China. We also highlight reasons why such lesser-studied languages are crucial to the further advancement of sociolinguistic theory, arguing that the value of the research justifies the effort needed to overcome the methodological difficulty. We find that the challenges of sociolinguistics in these communities sometimes make standard variationist methods untenable, but the methodological solutions we propose can lead to valuable results and community relationships.
National Foreign Language Resources Center at University of Hawaii. Department of Linguistics, UHM Moore Hall 569, 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Fax: 808-956-9166; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; China
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A