ComputEL: A workshop to explore the use of computational methods in the study of endangered language; Baltimore, MD - June 2014
Jeffrey Good Principal Investigator
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Contemporary efforts to document the world's endangered languages are dependent on the widespread availability of modern recording technologies, in particular digital audio and video recording devices and software to annotate the recordings that such devices produce. However, despite well over a decade of dedicated funding programs aimed at the documentation of endangered languages, the technological landscape that supports the activities of those involved in this work remains fragmented, and the promises of new technology remain largely unfulfilled. Moreover, the efforts of computer scientists, on the whole, are mostly disconnected from the day-to-day work of documentary linguists, making it difficult for the knowledge of each group to inform the other.<br/><br/>The ComputEL workshop will address this state of affairs by bringing together field linguists and computer scientists to explore how computational techniques and tools can be created to better aid in the analysis of endangered languages. A particular focus will be on how to facilitate the process through which research results in this domain can be developed into software that is well-supported for use by those documenting endangered languages in the field.<br/><br/>The workshop will be co-located with the Association for Computational Linguistics Annual Meeting in Baltimore in June 2014. This will allow it to reach a wider audience than would otherwise be possible, while taking advantage of its East Coast location to involve participants from nearby areas. Its first day will consist of research presentations scheduled as a part of the ACL meeting. On the following day, participants will take part in discussions designed to lay out a near-term agenda for the improved application of computational methods to the study of endangered languages.<br/><br/>The papers from the workshop will be published in the Association for Computational Linguistics conference proceedings, and an additional report will be produced summarizing the conclusions of the closed meeting. Smaller speaker communities worldwide will benefit from the results which will support better documentation and preservation of endangered languages.