Colloquium: Susan Smythe Kung


Title: Emerging Best Practices in Endangered Language Archiving Susan Smythe Kung


While headlines abound in popular media today bringing attention to the issues of language obsolescence and death, this topic went almost completely ignored until the early 1990s when Michael Krauss penned his now-famous admonishment to linguists: "Obviously we must do some serious rethinking of our priorities lest linguistics go down in history as the only science that presided obliviously over the disappearance of 90% of the very field to which it is dedicated" (1992: 10). This call to action lead to a renaissance in linguistics that included the emergence of a new subfield called documentary linguistics (Himmelmann 1998, Woodbury 2003), the development of best practices for language documentation and preservation (Gippert, Himmelmann & Mosel 2006), and in turn the development of a new category of archives focused entirely on collecting and preserving the results of language documentation (Johnson 2004). Kung's work at the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA) at UT-Austin includes contributing to the ongoing formulation of best practices in archiving endangered language documentation data. In this talk, Kung will briefly describe the history of the emergence of language documentation archives to lay the ground for the presentation of her current work on the formulation of best practices in curating and citing these data (Berez-Kroeker et al 2017, 2018).

Susan Smythe Kung, PhD, is the manager of the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), as well as a documentary linguist. Kung is the current president of the Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network (delaman.org), and she is Co-PI on two NSF grants: Transforming Access and Archiving for Endangered Language Data through Exploratory Methodologies of Curation (BCS-1653380) and Developing Standards for Data Citation and Attribution for Reproducible Research in Linguistics (SMA-1447886). She is actively engaged in the formulation of best practices for organizing collections of language documentation data for deposit into endangered language archives and for citing archived language data. The data and analyses from her own language documentation work on Huehuetla Tepehua, an indigenous language of Mexico, are archived at AILLA.


1:15pm to 2:45pm


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