🔗 Konkow Maidu Language Resource

Note: Hey, I thought it might be cool to start a new category for describing online documentation projects: #web-documentation There’s a bit more description at that link, please consider posting links of your own (and it doesn’t have to be this long… a simple link is just as good. I was procrasti-posting!)

Konkow Maidu Language Resource: utilizing linguistic documentation for research and revitalization

https://www.konkow.org/index.php

This wonderful site describes the Konkow language, which is shown in the pre-contact context of the other Maiduan languages in this map:

This site is quite impressive, there is a huge amount of documentation on Konkow Maidu.

There are some innovative user interface details, such as “hoverable” linguistic glossing:

This might be a good approach for new learners, since it limits the amount of information they’re confronted with (as opposed to a full interlinear gloss).

Lessons

The “Lessons” section is extensive —a lot of times on sites like this you see lessons that were clearly begun with good intentions but for whatever reason sort of fizzled out. That’s not the case here,

Texts

There are forty audio recordings of Konkow Maidu. Of these, three have full analyses, which have sentence-level audio alongside configurable intelinear sentences:

https://www.konkow.org/pub/analyzedstories.php

Here are what the “Sentence”, “Component”, and “Word” configurations of the interlinears look like:

There’s a tremendous amount of linguistic information here. They’re using a pretty learner-friendly glossing approach, although it’s a bit perplexing to interpret the relationship between the gloss for whole forms as opposed to glosses for individual morphemes — here, k’útumbùmbukk’ajehsámʔan is glossed as ‘go.about.hunting’ in the “Word” view, but something like k’útumbùmbukk’a-jeh-sámʔan ‘go.about.hunting-move.about-they.say’ in the “Component” view (which I assume means something like morpheme).

Anyway, it would take some familiarization with whole texts to better understand all of the information.

Games

There is so much fun stuff tucked into this site, in particular there are some great games for learners. They’re all worth a look, but just as an example check out this printable Orthography Battleship PDF:

I could easily imagine this being a hit a conference/workshop along the lines of Breath of Life.

https://www.konkow.org/pub/stories.php

Minor critiques

  • I find the partially transparent backgrounds over background images pretty distracting, especially when scrolling.
  • The buttons everywhere are a bit confusing. They also make it hard to link in to specific parts of the site.
  • It doesn’t seem to be possible to link to specific texts, only to the URL https://www.konkow.org/pub/analyzedstories.php. This has to do with the way the button link to the text is implemented, the code looks like this:

To nerd out : it’s that “hidden” input that’s actually specifying the parameter which identifies the text, but because the <form> is submitting via a POST request, that value isn’t part of the URL. Hence, it can’t be linked to or bookmarked.

How’s that for nitpicky?

Making fieldwork usable

A sad final note is the fate of this beautiful Maidu roundhouse, which was recently lost.

But this project has made the fieldwork carried out by the community with linguist Russell Ultan more accessible, and hence more durable, for the future. It’s a great example of how archives can serve as the starting point for re-making documentation into a learner-facing form.

https://cla.berkeley.edu/list.php?collid=10079

2 Likes

@pathall Thank you for making us aware of this impressive site and for your overview write up which is very clear and highlights the strengths of its various components. This is a great service to others of us who are working on developing web-based resources for language revitalisation. I wonder if you have a public version of your write up that I can point other colleagues to – I am not sure they would want to sign up for this Docling Forum but they would benefit from reading your report. Can you post it on an external blog or website somewhere, as well as here? Many thanks, Peter

1 Like

Thanks for the kind words, @pkaustin, I’m glad you like the article. (You might be interested in the one on dxʷləšúcid/Lushootseed as well).

As for the publicity question, it’s something we’ve discussed around here before. Maybe it’s time for us to make the content of the site public in general… it is admittedly a bit mysterious when someone first sees the site, and no content whatsoever is visible. And even worse, it’s not possible to link to content from the wider web, so that’s kind of bad.

It’s probably time for a reconsideration of this policy, I will start a topic on that. If we decide not to change it in the immediate term I’ll be happy to share these particular posts in other places on the web.

By the way, @pkaustin, I know you’ve put together some nice sites in this vein yourself, any pointers you have around (especially on Australian languages) would be welcome in the #web-documentation category, even if it’s just a link rather than a write-up.

Just ran across yet another impressive resource on this site, a whole ton of videos! Vintage but excellent.

https://www.konkow.org/pages/lessons-videos.php

These folks need a medal or something.

Nitpicky note: the video format used on the site, `.mp4`,
<video controls="" autoplay="">
  <source src="/video/Bibby/Lesson_09.mp4" type="video/mp4">
  Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos.
</video>

Here’s a screenshot from Chrome:

And here’s one from Firefox:

This is the same problem we saw with the CoCoON Archive a few days back.

This topic is probably worth a deeper discussion, but if it’s relevant to you there is a useful page on the topic here:

@pkaustin , this policy has been changed for now, so you should be able to share links with your colleagues now. Thanks for your input!