Episode 31: Catalan Language Normalization with Guillem Belmar

This month’s episode is with Guillem Belmar from UC Santa Barbara. Guillem focuses his research on language revitalization strategies as well as documentation of endangered or minoritized languages. He has worked on language promotion for many European languages and runs the #europeminoritylanguages project on social media. He is currently involved with the project Maintaining Indigenous Languages within Immigrant Oaxacan Communities in the United States.

In this episode we discuss Guillem’s work with his native language, Catalan, as well as Basque and Frisian. Guillem shares with us his experience working with minority languages in Europe, including his work on New Speaker motivation and language policy and planning.

Guillem giving a lecture at the Sorbian Seminar in Leipzig on using intelligibility in language revitalization

Next month Field Notes will be taking a short break, if you’d like to hear more from the pod, check out the Field Notes Patreon

Things mentioned in this episode:

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Episode 30: Pedro Mateo Pedro on Mayan Language Research & Revitalization

This month’s episode is with Pedro Mateo Pedro from University of Toronto.

Pedro is a native speaker of Q’anjob’al, a Mayan language of Guatemala. His research focuses on the documentation and description of Mayan languages, specifically language acquisition, Mayan languages in contact and dialectal variation. 

Pedro received his PhD in linguistics at the University of Kansas in 2010 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Pedro has taught at universities in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. 

Additionally, Pedro has worked on the production of educational materials in Mayan languages in coordination with different institutions in Guatemala, such as the Ministry of Education and the Academy of Maya Languages of Guatemala (ALMG in Spanish). In 2019, Pedro received an award as a distinguished professor at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Campus Altiplano.

Pedro documenting the acquisition of Chuj with two native speakers of Chuj: Nicolás Alonzo (left) and Jorge Pérez (right). ~2011, San Mateo Ixtatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Things mentioned in this episode

Pedro with two Kaqchikel speakers, Magda Sotz’ and Filiberto Patal, conducting a workshop on the teaching method of Mayan languages. In the workshop there were speakers of different Mayan languages, e.g., Kaqchikel, K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, Poqomchi’, Mam, Tz’utujil, Q’anjob’al, and other Mayan languages. ~2018. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Campus Altiplano.

Listen to this episode here, or on your favorite podcast app! Field Notes is available on Apple Podcasts app (iPhone), Google Play Music (Android), Google Podcasts app (Android), StitcherSpotifyPodbeanPodcast RepublicCastboxPlayer FM, and several other apps via RSS.

Episode 29: Jaime Pérez González on Tseltal & Mocho’ language documentation in Mexico

This month’s episode is with Jaime Pérez González is a Tseltal (Maya) researcher, writer, and translator from Tenango, Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico. He is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his master’s in American-Indian Linguistics at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS, Mexico). His MA thesis Predicados expresivos e ideófonos en tseltal won the 2013 Wigberto Jiménez Moreno Prize, awarded by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) for the best master’s thesis in linguistics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Language and Literatures at the Michoacan University of San Nicolas de Hidalgo (UMICH, Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico).

Since 2008, he has worked on different Tseltal language documentation projects as a collaborator and as a research assistant, and as a researcher. Among the topics he has worked on during these projects are Dialectology and Lexicography (building dictionaries). He started to work on Mocho’ (a cousin Mayan language) in 2015, and he is currently the Principal Investigator of the project “Documentation of Mocho’ (Mayan): Language Preservation through Community Awareness and Engagement” sponsored by the Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP). His research goes from Descriptive Linguistics, Language Documentation and Language revitalization. He has written about fieldwork methodologies, and he is currently working on a Descriptive Grammar of Mocho’. 

Jaime working with the Mocho’ community

Things mentioned in this episode:

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Episode 28: Ryukyuan Language Documentation with Michinori Shimoji

Today’s episode is with Michinori Shimoji, an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Kyushu University in Japan. He has a PhD from the Australian National University (ANU). He has published extensively on fieldwork-based descriptions of Ryukyuan languages, particularly Irabu Miyako, which is his father’s native language. His research focuses on empirical and inductive generalizations of linguistic systems and structures, with a particular emphasis on typological generalizations. With Patrick Heinrich and Shinsho Miyara, he is the editor of the Handbook of the Ryukyuan Languages History, Structure, and Use (2015). He is also the editor of An Introduction to Ryukyuan Languages (2011), along with Thomas Pellard. 

toorgoo: a twin-shaped pair of huge ponds. Serving as the stage in a number of Irabu stories and fables, toorgoo is regarded as an inspirational spot for Irabu people. 

Things mentioned in this episode:

Michinori working on an elicitation session with the help of language consultant, Ms. Kimi Namihira, 2010.

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Episode 27: Field Notes Live Show with Hilaria Cruz on Field Linguistics & Chatino

The second episode of Season 3 is with Hilaria Cruz from the University of  Louisville. Hilaria is a native speaker of Chatino, an endangered Zapotecan language, spoken in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico and by Chatino who have migrated to the Southeastern United states including Durham, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, and Huntsville, Alabama. She has collected and archived more than one hundred hours of audio recordings of naturalistic speech in formal and informal settings. She is currently researching  the Chatino concepts of the dead in four Eastern Chatino communities. Hilaria and her sister, Emiliana Cruz, created an orthography for the Chatino language and in 2018 created a monolingual children book series to be used as language teaching materials. 

This live show was recorded as part of LingFest, a program of online linguistics events aimed at a general audience, on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Access to the unabridged video live stream is available on the Field Notes Patreon.

Hilaria collecting recordings (photo by Erika Castillo Licea)

Things mentioned in this episode

Photo by Erika Castillo Licea

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Episode 26: Nancy Kula on Researching Bemba Phonology in Zambia

Welcome to Season 3 of Field Notes! Field Notes episodes will now be released monthly. This season will feature one insider linguist each month. If you would like to hear more Field Notes content, you can now support Field Notes on Patreon

This special first episode features Professor Nancy Kula studied phonology for her PhD at the University of Leiden. She has an MA in Linguistics from SOAS, University of London, and a BA in Education with African Languages and Linguistics from the University of Zambia. Following her PhD, she held a post-doctoral position in Leiden and at SOAS for three years and now works at the University of Essex since 2007. She has worked on many topics in phonology including tone and intonation and theoretically works on element theory. She is also interested in Language Policy as it applies to education in multilingual contexts and is currently running a project covering Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia. She has published in international linguistics journals, has edited a number of volumes and serves on international editorial boards.

From Nancy: “With my two main consultants in Kalabo, lovely old lady and her daughter. Zoom kit nicely set up with me trying to look all serious and grown up, not sure why!”

Things mentioned in this episode:

From Nancy: “Fish! Served with vegetables and Nshima. The crucial sentence is “Nibata Litapi” I want fish! Yum!”

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Field Notes Live Show at LingFest!

Field Notes will be holding its first ever live show at LingFest! Field Notes host & producer Martha Tsutsui Billins will chat with special guest Professor Hilaria Cruz on her work with her native language Chatino, an endangered Zapotecan language spoken in Oaxaca, Mexico. This live show will explore endangered language documentation and revitalization, particularly from the Insider Researcher perspective. No prior linguistics or language documentation knowledge required to attend. Questions from listeners are welcome and will also be discussed.

This event is open to all. Registration and attendance is free, but if you would like to support Field Notes, you can now do so on Patreon! Please register here, to sign up to receive the zoom link to attend. Registration will CLOSE 24 hours prior to the start of the live show (April 23 1:00 PM PDT). Registration is now closed. Stay tuned for the next Field Notes live show by following us on Twitter @lingfieldnotes. Thank you for supporting the pod!

Event will take place on April 24th at 1:00 PM PDT. Convert to your local time zone here.

Episode 25: Tibeto-Burman Field Linguistics with Shobhana Chelliah

Today’s episode is with Shobhana Chelliah, a Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics and Associate Dean at the University of North Texas (UNT).  Shobhana is a documentary linguist interested in creating descriptions that expand typological discovery, primarily of the Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in Manipur state, India. Her publications include The Grammar of Meithei (Mouton 1997) and the Handbook of Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork (co-authored with Willem de Reuse, Springer 2010) and the recently-published Springer Brief titled Why Language Documentation Matters. Along with John Peterson, she is the series editor for Brill’s Studies in South and Southwest Asian Languages. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Himalayan Linguistics and is on the Editorial Board of the journal Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics and is on the Advisory Board for the Journal South Asian Languages. She is also the founding director of the Computational Resource of South Asian Languages Archive.

At Nupi Kaithel, a Women’s Market in Manipur in 1990 (photo provided by Shobhana Chelliah)

Things mentioned in this episode

Correction: The two Lamkang scholars who visited UNT were Daniel Tholung and Shekarnong Sankhil.  This episode referenced Swamy Ksen, who is a Lamkang language expert Shobhana and her team works with in Manipur.

Shobhana Chelliah with Mr. Somi Roy reviewing Manipuri text collection to be published in Himalayan Linguistics with curator and director of the Imasi: The Maharaj Kumari Binodini Devi Foundation (Brooklyn, 2009- photo provided by Shobhana Chelliah)

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Ep 24: Pius Akumbu on Insider Research in Babanki

This episode marks the Season Two finale with Professor Pius Akumbu, who is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bamenda, Cameroon and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Hamburg since January 2019. He received his PhD in Linguistics from The University of Yaounde 1, in Cameroon. His research focuses on the documentation and description of Grassfields Bantu languages of Cameroon, including his mother tongue, Babanki. Additionally, Pius researches multilingualism in Cameroon as well as language planning and policy in Africa. He is an ELDP grant recipient, and a depositor at the Endangered Languages Archive. He is also a member of the KPAAM-CAM project

Pius Akumbu (left) with some Babanki speakers (Victor Veshi, Prudencia Ngoin, Duh Joseph, and Maley) after a child celebration ceremony

Things mentioned in this episode:

A scenic view of Kejom Ketinguh, one of the two main Babanki settlements

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Ep 23: Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork with Willem de Reuse

Today’s episode is with Willem de Reuse. Willem specializes in the description of Native American languages, particularly Siouan and Athabaskan languages. He wrote his PhD dissertation on the Siberian Yupik language. He has published on morphological theory, language contact, and historical phonology and philology. He has taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa, Ball State University, and the University of Arizona. His current position is at The Language Conservancy, and he also is affiliated with The University of North Texas. He is the Review Editor of the International Journal of American Linguistics, and he has written the Handbook Of Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork (2011) with Shobhana Chelliah. He is currently conducting fieldwork in Arizona working with speakers of Apache. 

Willem working with Apache consultants in Camp Verde, AZ, Feb- March 2010.
Willem working with Han Athabaskan consultants in  Fairbanks, Alaska, Sept. 2012.

Things mentioned in this episode:

Listen here, or on your favorite podcast app! Field Notes is available on Apple Podcasts app (iPhone), Google Play Music (Android), Google Podcasts app (Android), StitcherSpotifyPodbeanPodcast RepublicCastboxPlayer FM, and several other apps via RSS.