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Title:Repurposing bible translations for grammar sketches
Author(s):Heider, Paul M.; Hatfield, Adam; Wilson, Jennifer
Abstract:With the number of languages expected to go extinct in the coming century, language documentation as a priority is gaining increasing support. We discuss an experimental method for augmenting the number and scope of available language descriptions. Unlike traditional language descriptions, this work is largely based on translations of Bible verses with the accompanying English text used as a guide to the underlying semantics. Methodologically, our work sits at the intersection of three different approaches to language and linguistics: Classics studies of undeciphered languages, traditional field methods, and corpus linguistics. We further motivate this methodology and discuss related work in section 1. Section 2 describes some of the language-general challenges posed, both practical and philosophical. Section 3 covers the traditional methodologies from which we extended our work. Section 4 includes short examples from four languages spoken in Papua New Guinea: Folopa, Mufian, Suki, and Urim. In the final section, we sketch several directions for future work.
Issue Date:2011-06
Citation Info:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2011: 51-65
Series/Report:Proceedings of the Second Meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society
Description:papuan languages
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-06-22

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