Give Something Back
It is important to make some part of the language documentation useful and accessible to speakers, as early in the documentation process as possible.
Print is still the most useful medium for most endangered language communities. Some examples of useful things to provide are:
- Teaching materials: Primers, simple dictionaries, illustrated encyclopedia, flash-cards
- Collections of stories with accompanying cassette tapes
- Things used for daily activities: Calendars, etc.
Audio is also often appreciated. Make sure that the community has access to the technology needed to play the audio. For example if you provide a CD of stories, make sure there is a CD player available to use. Some examples of useful things to provide are:
- Collections of stories with accompanying cassette tapes or CDs
- Recording of the sounds of the language
- Collections of songs in the language, traditional or modern
Even if computers are not widely available in a speaker community, it is still important to think about accessibility. How modern are the computers that are available? What is the average speed of the internet connection? When designing computer programs or web pages it is important to keep these things in mind. Furthermore, when putting information on the web, make sure you have consent from the community.
Some examples of useful things to provide are:
- Interactive computer games
- Interactive language learning lessons
- Simple web pages with audio
- Digital dictionary
It is important for archives and academic institutions to promote giving back to the community. Archives should be sure to offer formats that print nicely. Departments need to encourage and reward linguists for spending time on pedagogical materials.