Language documentation and an Australian National Corpus

Musgrave, S., & Cutfield, S. (2009). Language documentation and an Australian National Corpus. In M. Haugh, K. Burridge, J. Mulder, & P. Peters (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 2008 HCSNet Workshop on Designing the Australian National Corpus: Mustering Languages (pp. 10-18). Somerville: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Corpus linguistics and language documentation are usually considered separate subdisciplines within linguistics, having developed from different traditions and often operating on different scales, but the authors will suggest that there are commonalities to the two: both aim to represent language use in a community, and both are concerned with managing digital data. The authors propose that the development of the Australian National Corpus (AusNC) be guided by the experience of language documentation in the management of multimodal digital data and its annotation, and in ethical issues pertaining to making the data accessible. This would allow an AusNC that is distributed, multimodal, and multilingual, with holdings of text, audio, and video data distributed across multiple institutions; and including Indigenous, sign, and migrant community languages. An audit of language material held by Australian institutions and individuals is necessary to gauge the diversity and volume of possible content, and to inform common technical standards.
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