Language Documentation

What is language documentation and how does it work?

Data Orientation

The core of language documentation at the CELD are annotated audio- and videotaped communicative events covering a broad range of interactive domains. All the major types of communicative events which occur in a speech community are tabulated as completely as possible. These would typically include: everyday conversation, ritual speech, procedural texts on major activities, oral history, autobiographic knowledge as well as interactions with speakers from neighboring speech communities. As much as possible, specimens for each type of communicative event are recorded for the documentation.

In addition to this core of annotated recordings, language documentations at the CELD ideally contain the following components:

  • fieldwork details (team members, outline of general procedures, the methods used in gathering data, reliability)
  • a description of the linguistic setting, including information on the genetic affiliation of the language
  • a detailed discussion and explanation of the orthographic representation, interlinear glosses, and translation conventions, which will be presented partly in a grammatical sketch
  • major typological characteristics and a detailed account of the sociolinguistic setting (dialects, language contact)
  • general information on the speech community (e. g. social organization, geography, history) including cross-references and links to more detailed work in the areas of anthropology, history, and economics
  • lexical database