Partnership in indigenous language documentation and advocacy: Experience from the Abureni Language Project
Keywords:Indigenous language, partnership, stakeholder-involvement, native speakers, language documentation
Members of speech communities thrive to ensure that their indigenous languages and cultures are preserved through various means and methods. The expectations over the linguistic categories in terms of content and quality, demand on cost-time-resources, spread of front-end input and acceptability of deliverables by native speakers themselves, are critical factors that influence the successful delivery of an indigenous language project. The above concerns are significant and become overwhelming, especially for small-groups and endangered languages with little or no previous scientifically based linguistic research publications such as Abureni in Nigeria. On one hand the objective of documenting the aspects of indigenous languages is to preserve their cultural heritage and identity as a people. On another hand, native people have ventured into the documentation and advocacy of their languages so as not to be left behind in the current wave of globalization that impacts all facets of human life. This paper utilizes Grice's theories of conversation and meaning and seeks to highlight the place of partnership and stakeholder involvement in achieving success in indigenous language documentation and advocacy. The authors adopt the functional framework to analyze the tasks, processes, deliverables, challenges, and learnings so far recorded in the Abureni Language project from a participatory perspective. The paper concludes that partnership with both internal and external stakeholders and a sustained involvement from them are enablers in delivering an indigenous language documentation and advocacy project.
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