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

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:

Ep 22: N. Haʻalilio Solomon on Activism & Language Ideologies in ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi

Today’s episode is with N. Haʻalilio Solomon, an Instructor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. Haʻalilio is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics at UH at Mānoa. He is a translator for ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi with Awaiaulu and Hoʻopulapula, and his studies involve language documentation and revitalization, as well as linguistic ideologies and attitudes surrounding ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. He is the author of the forthcoming book chapter Rescuing Maunalua: Shifting Nomenclatures and the Reconfiguration of Space in Hawaii Kai.

N. Haʻalilio Solomon is a member of the translation training non-profit called Awaiaulu, pictured here at a gala in 2017 honoring the organization’s executive director, Puakea Nogelmeier, and Projects manager, Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit.

Things mentioned in this episode: 

Hawaiʻinuiākea Faculty on a relationship-building huakaʻi (journey) to ancestral homelands, Raʻiātea, in French-occupied Polynesia.

Ep 21: Community-Based Documentation with Sheena Shah

This week’s episode is with Sheena Shah, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hamburg in Germany. She is currently working on a 2-year project documenting siPhuthi.  Sheena has conducted linguistic fieldwork on a number of languages in Southern Africa, including several indigenous click languages. Sheena’s mother tongue is Gujarati and for her Ph.D., she worked with Gujarati diaspora communities in London, Johannesburg, and Singapore.

N/uu orthography workshop in 2014 in Upington, South Africa

Things mentioned in this episode:

Video recording session in the Daliwe river valley (Lesotho)
Mobile home used during fieldwork in Lesotho

Ep 20: Andrew Harvey & Richard Griscom on Teamwork in the Field

Today’s episode is with Andrew Harvey and Richard Griscom from Leiden University. Andrew and Richard have just returned from their most recent field trip to Tanzania and in this episode they discuss their current projects (documenting Gorwaa, Hadza and Ihanzu) and teamwork in the field.

Richard (l) and Andrew (r) at Lake Basotu on the road to Haydom, with Mount Hannah in the background
Attendees at the language documentation workshop in January 2020

Andrew Harvey is a research fellow at Leiden University. He completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, a Master’s Degree at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a PhD at SOAS, University of London. He has conducted work with Gorwaa, Hadza, and Ihanzu speaker communities and has received funding for projects through the Endangered Languages Documentation Program, as well as the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research. The title of his currently funded research is, “Gorwaa, Hadza, and Ihanzu: Grammatical Inquiries in the Tanzanian Rift Valley Area.” His interests include the languages of the Tanzanian Rift, their documentation and description, their formal morphosyntax and the histories and cultures of their speaker communities.

Richard T. Griscom is a post-doctoral researcher at Leiden University. He obtained his bachelor’s and PhD degrees from the University of Oregon. Richard’s research focuses on language documentation, fieldwork methodology, and functional-typological linguistic description and theory, with a special emphasis on the languages of East Africa. Over the past five years, he has been working with the Asimjeeg Datooga and the Hadzabe, both endangered minority language communities of northern Tanzania. He is a recipient of two grants from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and is a depositor at the Endangered Languages Archive. 

Andrew (l) and Richard (r) at Mzee Asecheek’s house in Eshkesh

Things mentioned in this episode:

Ep 19: Dreamtime Narratives & Language Sustainability with Dorothea Hoffmann

Today’s episode is with Dr. Dorothea Hoffmann, a documentary linguist who has worked in remote parts of Northern Australia with speakers of MalakMalak, Jaminjung and Kriol. In North America, She has been involved in language revitalization projects for the AcomaUteStoney NakodaHo-Chunk and Cowlitz tribes, and First Nations. She is affiliated with the University of Oregon as an Honorary Research Associate and also works as a Linguistic Project Manager for The Language Conservancy. In addition to her linguistic research, Dorothea also is one half of the team that runs a venture called 180forward – an eco-tourism and education business based in New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.

In this episode, we discuss how as researchers we should be striving not only to help sustain the languages we work with but to go further and aim for regeneration and to help empower and create new speakers. Doro also explains a bit about Dreamtime narratives in MalakMalak, which are traditional creation stories which, among other things, connect speakers to not only their language but also the land.

With members of the Malak Malak community at the Puliima Conference in Darwin, NT in August 2019. Everyone is excited about the new Malak Malak Vocab Builder app!

Things mentioned in this episode:

Dorothea with Stoney Nakoda Elders Virginia Wesley and Henry Holloway during a dictionary workshop in Cochrane, Alberta in February 2020

Ep 18: Documenting Linguistic Avoidance in Datooga with Alice Mitchell

This week’s episode is with Alice Mitchell, a Junior Professor at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Cologne in Germany. Alice holds a bachelor’s degree in German and Linguistics from the University of Oxford, an MA in Language Documentation and Description from SOAS, and a PhD in Linguistics from the University at Buffalo. Prior to starting her current position in Cologne, Alice spent one year as a Humboldt Fellow in the African Studies department at the University of Hamburg, and three years as a postdoc in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on the Datooga language of Tanzania, where she has been conducting fieldwork since 2012. 

In this episode, Alice talks us through her research in Tanzania, and her experiences documenting name avoidance and studying children’s speech in Datooga.

Alice records Manang’i, an eleven-year-old Datooga speaker, while she herds calves and goats near her house in Manyara Region, Tanzania

Things mentioned in this episode:

View from Alice’s tent one morning in Eshkesh, Tanzania

Ep 17: Mary Walworth on Fieldwork with a Baby

Today’s episode is with Mary Walworth from the Max Planck Institute. Mary is co-leader of the Comparative Oceanic Languages (CoOL) Project at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she focused primarily on documenting the understudied languages of French Polynesia. She specializes in the historical relationships of Oceanic languages, examining both direct relatedness and indirect, contact-based linguistic development. She has worked with many communities throughout French Polynesia and Vanuatu, most recently on the islands of Emae and Epi in Central Vanuatu.

In this episode, Mary shares her experience of parenting in the field, and how having her family with her during fieldwork affected her research and her relationship with the community she collaborates with.

Chatting with a speaker of Fakamae language (and having a “play-date”) in Makatea village, October 2018. 
Recording a variety of Lewo language in Laman Bay Village, Epi Island, Vanuatu, during a survey of east Epi language varieties. August 2017.

Things mentioned in this episode:

Ep 16: Remote Fieldwork with Richard T. Griscom

This week’s episode is with Richard T. Griscom, a post-doctoral researcher at Leiden University. Richard obtained his bachelor’s and PhD degrees from the University of Oregon. Richard’s research focuses on language documentation, fieldwork methodology, and functional-typological linguistic description and theory, with a special emphasis on the languages of East Africa. Over the past five years, he has been working with the Asimjeeg Datooga and the Hadzabe, both endangered minority language communities of northern Tanzania. He is a recipient of two grants from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and is a depositor at the Endangered Languages Archive

Richard looks at audio and video recordings with Hadza researchers in Domanga, Tanzania (Photo credit Nadia Jassim)

Things mentioned in this episode:

Richard’s equipment:

Richard crosses the Sibiti River in Tanzania with Yohani Mangi and Yonah Ndege, two speakers of Asimjeeg Datooga

Ep 15: Rethinking the ‘field’ in Fieldwork with Hannah Gibson

This episode is with Hannah Gibson, who is a Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Essex. She holds an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from SOAS University of London, and BA in Swahili and Law from the same institution. Her research is primarily concerned with linguistic variation, particularly why and how languages change. Much of her work explores the syntax and semantics of the Bantu languages, with a focus on languages spoken in Eastern Africa. She has conducted data collection in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.

In this episode, Hannah and I discuss her research, what her daily research routine looks like, and why we should think critically about what we mean when we use the term “fieldwork”. 

Data collection for siSwati with Sikhumbuzo Khoza, Judith Nkuna & Kyoung-Won Jeong (Bongane Nyambi out of shot)

Things mentioned in the episode:

Data collection for Rangi (and hanging out on a Sunday afternoon), Haubi Central Tanzania