1. bookVolume 18 (2021): Issue 1 (May 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Revivalistics is Not Documentary Linguistics

Published Online: 26 May 2021
Page range: 1 - 13
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Summary

This article introduces a new field of enquiry called revivalistics, and explores its trans-disciplinarity and various ethical, aesthetic and utilitarian benefits. Revivalistics is an emerging global, trans-disciplinary field of enquiry studying comparatively and systematically the universal constraints and global mechanisms on the one hand (Zuckermann, 2003; 2009; 2020), and particularistic peculiarities and cultural relativist idiosyncrasies on the other, apparent in linguistic reclamation, revitalization and reinvigoration across various sociological backgrounds, all over the globe (Zuckermann, 2020; Zuckermann & Walsh, 2011; 2014). The article focuses on the crucial differences between revivalistics and documentary linguistics. It provides examples from the field that demonstrate the complexity of the revivalist’s work and how the revivalist’s work is distinct from that of the documentary linguist. Too many documentary linguists mislead themselves to believe that they can easily be revivalists too. But there are two crucial differences between revivalistics and documentary linguistics, which are at war between themselves: (1) Whereas documentary linguists put the language at the centre, revivalists put the language custodians at the centre. (2) Whereas in documentary linguistics the Indigenous/minority people have the knowledge of the language, in revivalistics the revivalist is the one with that knowledge. Given that the Aboriginal/minority people are the language custodians, and given that the language custodians are at the centre of the revivalistic enterprise, the revivalist must be extremely sensitive. A revivalist is not only a linguist but also a psychologist, social worker, teacher, driver, schlepper, financial manager, cook, waiter, babysitter, donor etc. A revivalist must have a heart of gold, “balls” of steel and the patience of a saint. Language revival is similar to co-parenting. But the revivalist is only a step-father. The important biological mother is the Indigenous/minority community. If you are the step-father and your spouse, who is the biological mother, makes what you perceive to be a mediocre decision with regard to your children, you cannot just disapprove of it. After all, the children are your spouse’s more than they are yours. You must work together for the best possible outcome. Similarly, if the community supports a decision that is not linguistically viable, the revivalist can try to inspire the community members, but must accept their own verdict. That would be difficult for a documentary linguist with poor social skills.

Keywords

Alladi, S., Bak, T. H., Duggirala, V., Surampudi, B., Shailaja, M., Shukla, A. K., Chaudhuri, J. D., & Kaul, S. (2013). Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status. Neurology, 81(22), 1938–1944. Search in Google Scholar

Alladi, S., Bak, T. H., Mekala, S., Rajan, A., Chaudhuri, J. R., Mioshi, E., Krovvidi, R., Surampudi, B., Duggirala, V., & Kaul, S. (2016). Impact of bilingualism on cognitive outcome after stroke. Stroke, 47, 258–261. Search in Google Scholar

Bak, T. H., Long, M. R., Vega-Mendoza, M., & Sorace, A. (2016). Novelty, challenge, and practice: The impact of intensive language learning on attentional functions. PLoS One, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153485 Search in Google Scholar

Bak, T. H. (2016). Language lessons to help protect against dementia. British Medical Journal, 354, p. 5039. Search in Google Scholar

Bak, T. H., Mehmedbegovic, D. (2017). Healthy linguistic diet: The value of linguistic diversity and language learning. Journal of Languages, Society and Policy. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.9854 Search in Google Scholar

Bak, T. H., Nissan, J., Allerhand, M., & Deary, I. J. (2014). Does bilingualism influence cognitive ageing? Annals of Neurology, 75(6), 959–63. Search in Google Scholar

Boroditsky, L., & Gaby, A. (2010). Remembrances of times east absolute spatial representations of time in an Australian aboriginal community. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1635–9. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (2006). Conceptual loss in space and time: Vanishing concepts in Khwe, a Hunter-Gatherers. Language, Ajia Afurika Gengo Bunka Kenkyujo Tsushin, 116, 71–73. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (2007b). Vanishing conceptual diversity: The loss of hunter-gatherers’ concepts. Jornades 15 anys GELA (Grup d’Estudide Llengües Amenaçades). Recerca en llengües amenaçades (published on CD by GELA). Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (2018). Sharing thoughts, concepts and experiences: Fieldwork on African languages. In H. Sarvasy, & D. Forker (Eds.), Word hunters: Field linguists on fieldwork. Studies in language companion series 194 (pp. 45–60). John Benjamins. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (Ed.) (1992). Language death. factual and theoretical explorations with special reference to East Africa. Mouton de Gruyter. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (Ed.) (1998). Endangered languages in Africa. Rüdiger Köppe. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M. (Ed.) (2007a). Language diversity endangered. Mouton de Gruyter. Search in Google Scholar

Brenzinger, M., Heine, B., & Heine, I. (1994). The Mukogodo Maasai. An ethnobotanical survey. Rüdiger Köppe. Search in Google Scholar

De Boinod, A. J. (2005). The Meaning of Tingo: And other extraordinary words from around the world. Penguin. Search in Google Scholar

De Boinod, A. J., & Zuckermann, G. (2011). Tingo: Language as a reflection of culture. The Israeli translation of Adam Jacot de Boinod’s. The Meaning of Tingo. Three chapters by G. Zuckermann, pp. 193–222. Keren. Search in Google Scholar

Enfield, N. J. (Ed.) (2011). Dynamics of human diversity: The case of Mainland Southeast Asia. Pacific Linguistics. Search in Google Scholar

Evans, N. (2010). Dying Words. Endangered languages and what they have to tell us. Wiley-Blackwell. Search in Google Scholar

Grant, C. (2014). Music endangerment: How language maintenance can help. Oxford University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Heine, B., & Brenzinger M. (1988). Plants of the Borana (Ethiopia and Kenya). Plant concepts and plant use, Part IV. Breitenbach. Search in Google Scholar

Hinton, L. (1994). Flutes of fire: Essays on California Indian languages. Heyday Books. Search in Google Scholar

Hinton, L. (2011). Language revitalization and language pedagogy: New teaching and learning strategies. Language and Education, 25(4), 307–318. Search in Google Scholar

Keysar, B., Hayakawa, S. L., & Gyu An, S. (2012). The foreign-language effect thinking in a foreign tongue reduces decision biases. Psychological Science, 23(6), 661–8. Search in Google Scholar

Kovács, Á. M., & Mehler. J. (2009). Flexible learning of multiple speech structures in bilingual infants. Science, 325(5940), 611–2. Search in Google Scholar

Krizman, J., Marian, V., Shook, A., Skoe, E., & Kraus, N. (2012). Subcortical encoding of sound is enhanced in bilinguals and relates to executive function advantages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(20), 7877–7881. Search in Google Scholar

Paplikar, A., Mekala, S., Bak, T. H., Dharamkar, S., Alladi, S., & Kaul, S. (2018). Bilingualism and the severity of post-stroke aphasia. Aphasiology, 33(1), 58–72. https://doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2017.1423272 Search in Google Scholar

Zuckermann, G. (2003). Language contact and lexical enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. Palgrave Macmillan. Search in Google Scholar

Zuckermann, G. (2009). Hybridity versus revivability: Multiple causation, forms and patterns. Journal of Language Contact, 2, 40–67. Search in Google Scholar

Zuckermann, G. (2020). Revivalistics: From the genesis of Israeli to language reclamation in Australia and beyond. Oxford University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Zuckermann, G., & Walsh, M. (2011). Stop, revive, survive: Lessons from the Hebrew revival applicable to the reclamation, maintenance and empowerment of aboriginal languages and cultures. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 31(1), 111–27. Also published as Chapter 28 in S. D. Blum (Ed.) (2012), Making sense of language: Readings in culture and communication, 2nd edition. Oxford. Search in Google Scholar

Zuckermann, G., & Walsh, M. (2014). “Our ancestors are happy!”: Revivalistics in the service of indigenous wellbeing. Foundation for Endangered Languages XVIII: Indigenous Languages: Value to the Community, 113–9. Foundation for Endangered Languages. Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo