Green, Elizabeth Mara, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Everyday Signs: Deaf Sociality and Communicative Practices in Rural Nepal,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks
ELIZABETH MARA GREEN, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in May 2009, to aid research on 'Everyday Signs: Deaf Sociality and Communicative Practices in Rural Nepal,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks. An estimated 5,000-15,000 deaf people in Nepal are Nepali Sign Language (NSL) users and participants in an urban-centered, national deaf community. In contrast, the majority of deaf Nepalis -- some 190,000 according to one frequently quoted figure -- never learn, or even encounter, NSL. Without access to a shared language, these deaf people, along with their hearing interlocutors, develop localized gestural systems to communicate. The researcher conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Kathmandu, the capital, and Maunabudhuk, a village in the east, with local signers. The findings suggest that local sign is both like and unlike communication that occurs when using a standard language; while both rely on conventions, the former has a much smaller and less stable repertoire, such that it is characterized not only by successes but also by frequent misunderstandings and a very tightly-bound relationship to social and interactional context. The dissertation will explore more fully how deaf local signers and their hearing family members, neighbors, and friends draw on shared personal experiences, tacit social knowledge, and the material landscape to produce meaningful signs and meaningful lives.
Johnson, Amber, Kirksville, MO - To aid preparation of the personal research materials of Dr. Lewis Binford for archival deposit with the Pickler Memorial Library, Truman State U., Kirksville, MO - Historical Archives Program
Quincey, Jennifer Anne, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Welsh Language Revitalization: Normative Signals and Adult Linguistic Socialization,' supervised by Dr. John Richard Bowen
JENNIFER QUINCEY, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, received funding in April 2006 to support research on 'Welsh Language Revitalization: Normative Signals and Adult Linguistic Socialization', supervised by Dr. John Bowen. A surge in interest in Welsh language education has followed the recent, dramatic reversal in the status of the Welsh language. This research centers on a contested, emergent variety of Welsh unique to Welsh for Adults (WfA) classrooms. Designed to be linguistically and ideologically 'neutral', this variety's existence has exposed and created conflicting conceptions of linguistic legitimacy at a critical juncture in the project of Welsh language revitalization. Based on participant observation in advanced WfA classes and in a WfA teacher-training course, this research focused on the ways in which adult learners construct unique definitions of legitimacy; the process by which prospective WfA teachers, a key source of normative signals that adult learners encounter, are trained to transmit this language variety; and the effects of learners' language behavior on the wider Welsh language community, ranging from the level of individual interaction to the emergence of an alternative model of citizenship and belonging in post-devolution Britain.
Strand, Thea Randina, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid 'Varieties in Dialogue: A Historical and Ethnographic Study of Dialect Use and Shift in Rural Norway,' supervised by Dr. Jane H. Hill
THEA R. STRAND, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Varieties in Dialogue: A Historical and Ethnographic Study of Dialect Use and Shift in Rural Norway,' supervised by Dr. Jane H. Hill. This research investigates the relationships between dialect use, language ideologies, and rural identities in the rural Norwegian valley of Valdres, as well as the direction of contemporary local dialect shift relative to the competing written norms of Bokmål and Nynorsk. During ethnographic fieldwork in 2007-2008, recordings of dialect use were collected from metalinguistic interviews, casual conversations, theater performances, and national media appearances by dialect speakers. Based on these recordings, as well as participant observation, this study combines an analysis of dominant discourses and ideologies of language with the close linguistic analysis of accent and grammatical forms associated with the Valdres dialect. Additionally, a long-term historical perspective is incorporated in order to explore the ways in which the 150-year history of language planning and struggle in Norway has contributed to the development of the contemporary linguistic situation. While previous research in Valdres has indicated long-term change in the direction of normative, regional urban speech, a central finding of this study is that dialect change today appears to be multi-directional -- both toward standard, urban Norwegian, and, simultaneously, toward new, markedly rural forms. The latter kind of change is clearly supported by local ideologies that have recently revalued rural culture, identity, and language.
Enfield, Dr. Nicholas James, Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen, The Netherlands - To aid workshop on 'Dynamics of Human Diversity in Mainland Southeast Asia,' 2009, Siem Reap, Cambodia, in collaboration with Dr. Joyce Carol White
'Dynamics of Human Diversity in Mainland Southeast Asia'
January 7-10, 2009, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Organizers: Nicholas Enfield (Max Planck Instittute, Nijmegen) and Joyce White (University of Pennsylvania Museum)
This four-field meeting brought together an international group of linguists, social/cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, and physical/biological anthropologists, to address the following question: What is the nature of human diversity in mainland Southeast Asia, and how did it come to be this way? The focus of discussions was restricted spatially to
mainland Southeast Asia (centrally, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Malay Peninsula) and temporally to the Holocene (the last 11,000 years). Drawing upon exciting new developments in all sub-fields of anthropology in this area, scholars from different disciplines came together to update one another on the states of their respective arts, as well
as to identify new syntheses and new agendas for interdisciplinary research. Issues of homeland of ethnolinguistic groups, and of timing of migrations (especially of the Asian groups of peninsular Malaysia and Thailand, and more generally the Austroasiatic language family), were illuminated by considering different kinds of evidence from the most recent
research in historical linguistics, archaeology, and especially the latest results from bioarchaeology and genetics. None of the biggest questions were definitively solved, but the meeting succeeded in bringing all participants further along in the search for solutions, as well as forging some new scholarly relationships with the potential for future interdisciplinary collaborations.
Enfield, N.J. 2011. Linguistic Diversity in Mainland Southeast Asia. In Dynamics of Human Diversity: The Case of Mainland Southeast Asia. Pacific Linguistics. School of Culture, History and Language. College of Asia and the Pacific. The Australian National University: Canberra.