The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project  The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project

ELAP Workshop: Meaning and Translation in Language Documentation

Saturday 11th February, 2005
9.30am-5.30pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS

Registration now closed


The theme of this workshop is meaning and translation in language documentation. The goal of the workshop is to highlight and discuss theoretical and practical issues in working on semantics and pragmatics in endangered languages documentation, and especially issues of translation and interpretation of a documentary corpus. Among the issues to be considered will be:

1. What is the role of translation and translators in documentation?

2. Are expressions of meaning - including translation (depending perhaps on who translates) - part of the documentary corpus itself or something separate?

3. What defines the boundaries between a corpus and its interpretation(s)?

4. Approaches to semantics in language documentation

5. Approaches to pragmatics in language documentation In preparation for the workshop participants are encouraged to read the following paper: Evans, Nicholas and Hans-Jurgen Sasse 2003 'Searching for meaning in the Library of Babel: field semantics and problems of digital archiving', available as a downloadable PDF.

Preliminary Programme

Speaker Title
Dr Felix Ameka, Leiden University "Glosses versus meanings: on the cognitive archaeology of linguistic forms"
Dr Leora Bar-el, ELAP, SOAS "Diagnostics to the rescue: how elicitation techniques can avoid translation "problems""
Henrik Bergqvist, ELAP, SOAS "The role of metadata in pragmatics: meaning and translation practices in language documentation"
Dr David Bradley, La Trobe University and Leverhulme Visiting Professor, SOAS "What elicitation misses: dominant languages, dominant semantics"
Prof William Foley, University of Sydney "Reason, understanding and the limits of translation: implications for field linguistics"
Prof Lenore Grenoble, Dartmouth College "The importance and challenges of documenting pragmatics"
Robert Munro, ELAR, SOAS "Multilingual metadata: between translation and coexistent annotations"
Prof Anthony C. Woodbury, University of Texas at Austin "On thick translation in linguistic documentation"

*Booking information To attend the workshop, you need to submit a booking form by 5.00pm on Friday 27th January.

The cost is 12.50 for full registration and 7.50 for student/ELAP alumni/staff registration.

Registration includes a reading pack, tea and coffee and lunch.