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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Spring 2005

LAS 310 • ENDANGERED LANGUAGES

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37955 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
PAR 203
MATEO-TOLEDO, E

Course Description

Why are more than half the world's languages dying? Why does it matter? What does it mean for a community or for the rest of us? And is there anything they can do about it? This course focuses on endangered languages and language documentation from linguistic and community perspectives. The first part surveys why languages die and what this means for the communities and for linguistics. The second part focuses on the documentation of the instructor's own first language, Q'anjob'al, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala. Students will learn basic tools for documenting languages and apply them to data the instructor (as informant) provides on Q'anjob'al--something you can learn to do even if you have no background whatsoever about the language, and even if you think you are not at all a talented language learner. The third and last part explores how language documentation and preservation are being carried out by speakers of Mayan languages in Guatemala and by others around the world. The course will give students a general picture of endangered languages and an opportunity to experience a Mayan language.

Grading Policy

Writing assignments: 40% 2 tests: 40% Class participation: 20%

For this course you have to write short reports about your findings when documenting Q'anjob'al. There will also be two tests covering readings and class discussion.

Texts

Selected reading will be places on the reserve shelf in the Hill Library photocopy room (CAL 513).

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