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I mentioned last week that I had some summer plans that I was really excited about, and though I’m entering that how-will-I-ever-get-packed, I’m-sure-I’m-forgetting-37-things-I-needed-to-do phase that always precedes a big trip, I’m still giddy at the fact that by this time Monday I will be attending the Institute on Collaborative Language Research!

CoLang, as its abbreviated, is a biannual institute for language documentation and revitalization funded by the National Science Foundation and the Linguistic Society of America, and this year it is hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington.  I will be attending the first two weeks that consist of workshops on a variety of practical topics in language documentation!  (After the workshops is a four-week session of intense field methods courses, which, alas, my day job prevents me from attending.)  My fellow attendees will include graduate and undergraduate linguistics students, current linguists with varying levels of experience in fieldwork already, and language activists from native speaker communities from across the Anglophone world.

It’s going to be a wild couple of weeks – I’ll be taking a total of eight different workshop courses, attending one-off intensive seminars, and participating in evening activities.  Can you imagine how thrilled I was to see that one of the planned evening activities is a screening of Star Wars in Navajo??  I’ll be learning the basics of audio recording and analysis, grant writing, transcription, orthography, lexicography, and personal and cultural issues that can arise in fieldwork situations.  One class I’m particularly excited for is a course in song documentation, which is being co-taught by a linguist and an ethnomusicologist who have done fieldwork together.

I’m fully prepared to be humbled by all the things I don’t yet know.  I’m also fully prepared to feel exactly like a college student all over again, down to the facts that I’ll be bunking in a dorm and eating in the school cafeteria (and the lexicography professor already gave us homework!)  It’s no luxury vacation, but oh my gosh I get to do language work for two solid weeks!

So I expect I’ll have some things to blog about from that :)  I will try to keep the exclamation points to a minimum.  But until then, I better figure out how to pack!

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