LINGUIST List 5.570

Thu 19 May 1994

Calls: Field reports/Endangered Lgs: Session at LSA 95

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Anthony C. Woodbury", Call: Field reports/Endangered Lgs. Session at LSA '95

Message 1: Call: Field reports/Endangered Lgs. Session at LSA '95

Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 19:21:18 Call: Field reports/Endangered Lgs. Session at LSA '95
From: "Anthony C. Woodbury" <>
Subject: Call: Field reports/Endangered Lgs. Session at LSA '95

 Call for papers
 Proposed as an organized session
 for the January 1995 LSA Annual Meeting in New Orleans

The documentation of languages and language use is a central mission of
the discipline. Higher order generalizations about human linguistic
competence, communicative competence, and linguistic prehistory all
depend on it. It is an urgent mission because overall linguistic
diversity is declining drastically. Michael Krauss (in Language 68:4-
10, 1992) estimates that the 6000 or so languages spoken now may be
reduced to below 1000 in as few as a hundred years. Yet, while the
regular LSA session categories accommodate certain results of field
documentation and description, they still fail to support the enterprise
itself, or to provide a forum for its most immediate results and
products. This failure tends to diminish awareness of field work and
documentation as an ongoing enterprise within the discipline at a time
of unprecedented urgency. Worse, it places a heavy or even prohibitive
burden on beginning linguists who have made a commitment to the
documentation and revitalization of endangered languages, but who, in
addition to the demands of field work, must tailor their work to
existing session categories if they want to present it at all.

Therefore, the LSA's Committee on Endangered Languages is soliciting
abstracts for a proposed organized session at the January, 1995, LSA
Meeting titled 'Field reports/Endangered Languages.' The organizers
are Ken Hale (MIT) and Tony Woodbury (U Texas, Austin). If this
session is successful, a similar one will be proposed for the 1996 LSA
Meeting, with the eventual goal of establishing 'Field
reports/Endangered Languages' as a self-sustaining regular session
category at future Meetings.

Abstracts are invited on results of recent field work, especially (but
not necessarily) on languages that are endangered, including:

 * Squibs presenting fact patterns that are interesting in some
 general (e.g., theoretical or historical) sense, or new for a given
 language or area (e.g. a verb paradigm not noted in earlier
 descriptions; or tone in a region where tone languages are not

 * Descriptions of new phenomena (cf. such past field 'discoveries'
 as clicks, vowel harmony, echo words, ergativity, whistled speech,
 ritual registers, and convergence)

 * Presentations of new findings on issues of language endangerment
 (e.g., the distribution and speaker strength of languages or
 dialects in a given area, language preservation or revitalization
 efforts, attitudes toward language death, or the sociolinguistics
 of endangered language communities)

 * Field methodology (e.g., field techniques, dictionary making,
 natural text collection/representation, speaker census and survey
 methods, linguist-community cooperation)

 * General issues of concern for field workers (e.g., the
 intellectual roles of linguist and consultant, the responsibility
 of linguists to the communities in which they work, or the role of
 field work in linguistic theory).

As in regular LSA Meeting sessions, papers will be 15 minutes long, with
five minutes for discussion. There are eight slots. Please submit
abstracts by _Tuesday, August 30_ to: Tony Woodbury; Dept. of
Linguistics; Calhoun Hall 501; University of Texas; Austin, Texas
78712-1196 (phone (512) 471-1701, email
Submitters must be LSA members. Each submission should conform to the
guidelines for 15 minute papers in the December 1993 LSA Bulletin and
should consist of a completed Abstract Submittal Form (p. 61), a short
abstract on the form provided, and a long abstract as specified. Please
also include a phone number or email address where you can be reached on
_Wednesday, Sept. 7_. That way, you can be notified about your abstract
in time for the September 10 deadline for regular LSA abstracts.

Abstracts will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Committee on
Endangered Languages. To the extent possible, the eight abstracts will
be chosen so as to represent languages of most or all major world
regions, with an emphasis on languages that are endangered; to
demonstrate the range of topics possible for LSA `Field Reports'; to
emphasize the work of younger, less established members of the
profession, including especially graduate students; and to showcase
field results of importance and interest to linguists generally.

An electronic copy of the (preliminary) proposal for this session to the
LSA Program Committee is available from Tony Woodbury at

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue