Dying Grammars? The Challenges of Writing a Grammar of an Obsolescing Language and Their Consequences for Linguistic Theory
A presentation from 2022–2023 Hilles Bush Fellow Roberto Zariquiey
Zariquiey is a linguist specializing in Amazonian linguistic diversity, especially indigenous Peruvian languages. His fellowship project focuses on the grammar of Iskonawa, an Amazonian language with only five elderly speakers, assessing from a broad theoretical and methodological perspective the challenges that obsolescence poses for grammatical description and language documentation—and critically investigating the belief that obsolescing languages lose complexity, exhibit defective grammars, and do not deserve scientific attention.
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