What is language documentation?
It is a new area within linguistics that has emerged as a response to the growing crisis of language endangerment. It emphasises data collection methodologies, in two ways: first, in encouraging researchers to collect and record a wide range of linguistic phenomena in genuine communicative situations; and secondly, in its use of high quality sound and video recording to make sure that the results are the best possible record of the language. To find out more, please see the page What is language documentation?.
Language documentation in Tibet (photo Dr Yeshes Vodgsal Acuo).
Language documentation plays an extremely important role in each of the
three programmes of the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.
ELDP, the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme,
grants funds for documentation projects and is one of the largest international funders of
ELAP, the Endangered Languages Academic Programme,
teaches the theories and skills that make linguistic fieldwork, documentation and description possible.
And ELAR, the Endangered Languages Archive,
is tailored to preserve documentation materials and to assist in the usage of those materials by
language communities and by academic researchers.