Two archive talks now available on youtube

(reposting from our dept web page; comments on the talks very welcome!)
Claire Bowern’s Chirila Historical Linguistics Lab presented two talks at the session on Language Documentation at the LSA 2022 Annual Meeting. The first talk is titled “Accessibility, discoverability, and functionality: An audit of (and recommendations for) digital language archives”, and the second talk is titled “How usable are digital collections for endangered languages? A review”. Both talks are recorded and available on Youtube (links provided in this post). The first talk assesses digital language archives from an end-user perspective, while the second talk focuses on the perspective of depositors of language collections. The members of the lab on these talks are Sarah Babinski, Irene Yi, Jeremiah Jewell, Amelia Lake, Kassandra Haakman, and Juhyae Kim.

The talks can be viewed at the links below:


Hi @cbowern - this is a brilliant pair of talks, thanks for sharing!
I think the comment in the first talk at around 3:07 – that much linguistic training focuses on producing material for archiving, not working on material in archives – is really important. Do we know any programmes (or workshops or summer school courses, etc.) that have anything to say about this? Is there anyone out there teaching linguists how to work with archival data? I’d be really interested to hear about them.
Otherwise, I think that this meta-analysis of archives and archiving is really useful (both personally, but also as a subfield), and I really hope you and your team can continue this work.


Hi @Andrew_Harvey - Some minor points on what I’ve seen (in passing) about using language archives for research.

There are at least short ELAR blogs about this:

And I noticed that this recent “fragments of a” grammar of an extinct language is based only off of (written) documentation (but I haven’t looked at the grammar):

Otherwise I’ve seen stuff out there on corpus linguistics and language documentation which seems like it should be relevant


Thanks! There’s a long vein of work in using archival data for language reclamation: the breath of life workshops, for example, and the “salvage grammars” that are written from 19th Century sources. We didn’t directly reference much of that work in the online talk but the Myaamia and Mutsun projects come to mind as great examples.

1 Like

Also on the topic of using language archives, a new LDD volume “The Social Lives of Linguistic Legacy Materials” just came out: