Humane face of Language Documentation: A Great Andamanese Experience


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Human history is replete with stories of survival and birth of many old and new cultures across the globe. Human migration across the world combined with the emergence of agriculture, the rise of industrialization and colonialism, and later globalization has not only produced the homogenization of cultures across the world but has also resulted in complete or partial endangerment of many lesser known cultures. One of the notable fallouts of this upheaval is the loss of linguistic equilibrium in the world leading to language endangerment and language death (Romaine 2007: 116-117). Death of a language does not only mean that some linguistic resources have ceased to exist but it is the loss of centuries of human knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

In recent times greater public awareness about language endangerment and the urgency to preserve the vanishing voices, has given rise to new and upcoming field of Language Documentation. Himmelman (2006: 1) in simple words defines language documentation as a lasting, multipurpose record of a language. Unlike language description, language documentation not only serves the scientific community but also essentially serves the interests of the speech community. Following on this new approach towards documentation and revitalization of endangered languages, We aimed to document the Great Andamanese language which is spoken by the Great Andamanese people living at Strait Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. To read more click below (PDF)

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2 thoughts on “Humane face of Language Documentation: A Great Andamanese Experience

  1. Pingback: Topics about Climate » Archive » Humane face of Language Documentation: A Great Andamanese Experience

  2. Thank you for this post and making available your article. I was particularly struck by your observation that “the process of language documentation itself arouses enthusiasm for language use among the community and this can be easily utilized by the people involved in language revitalization.”

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