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News from Saami Language Documentation – Gastvorlesung von Michael Rießler an der Universität Oulu

Der Vortrag findet im Anschluss an einen Workshop zu "Saami language documentation, research and the use of language technology" am Saamischen Kulturarchiv der Universität Oulu statt.

News from Saami Language Documentation – Gastvorlesung von Michael Rießler an der Universität Oulu

Pite Saami Documentation Project (Joshua Wilbur, 2009)

Eliel Lagercrantz

Lappische Volksdichtung (Eliel Lagercrantz, 1920)


Saami Language Documentation has a long tradition. Originally, Language Documentation was merely an empirical method for descriptive linguistics. Today, however, Language Documentation has evolved as a field of its own, as it has its own primary aims and methodologies. One of the most important purposes of Language Documentation is making data available for further research on and for endangered languages, for both further theoretical and applied research, as well as for direct use by the relevant language community. Language Documentation is therefore best described as a sub-field of applied linguistics emerging under the umbrella of so-called Digital Humanities, and existing at the interface of different fields of applied and theoretical research, such as Anthropology, Documentation Science, Language Technology and others.

Ideally, the data pool provided by the language documenter includes a comprehensive, deeply annotated and easily accessible multifunctional corpus of a language. Metadata annotations concern both the “content” (such as phonological, morphological or syntactic transcriptions and translations) of the documented speech sample as well as the “context” (e.g. actors, places, speech events, but also meta-documentation about the actual project) and are crucial for the intellectual accessibility of the documented data. Resource discoverability, physical availability, data safety and the protection of copyrights are other methodological challenges.

Although there are several Saami departments at universities close to the Saami communities and a vast amount of Saami linguistic and cultural research material has been gathered and stored in different formats in various archives since the late 19th century, it has only been over the last few years that true “language documentation” by means of new fieldwork or work with archived materials and using contemporary approaches — including documenting, long-term safeguarding and (particularly) making data available — has started to be put into practice at academic institutions in the Nordic countries.

My presentation critically examines common practices in Saami Language Documentation (including my own on-going documentation projects on East-Saami languages) in order to promote and achieve “better practice” in the future.

Freiburg Research Group in Saami Studies

Sámi kulturarkiivva

Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge