ICSTLL 53 Special Sessions

Assessing needs for archiving materials for ICSTLL languages
Preconference meeting
4th meeting of the Computational Resource for South Asian Languages

Discussion led by Kristine Hildebrandt 
October 1st 4pm-8pm (CST), Room1

With the goal of raising awareness on the state of language collections for ICSTLL languages, key field researchers in Sino-Tibetan languages share the story of field studies in the subgroups they study.  They review all manner of field notes, cassette tapes, minidisk recordings, unpublished manuscripts, publications with small print runs that need curation and archiving. Where these materials will be 50 years from now?  Is this material safe and accessible and what do we need to do to make it so?  Are there speaker communities who need this data and are we able to bring it to them?  What kind of training in data management and metadata creation do we need to provide our students so that their work can be easily archived? 

Giving cultural and social meaning to disaster: Himalayan highlander responses to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal 
Kristine Hildebrandt, Sienna Craig and Geoff Childs 
October 2nd 6:15 – 7:15 pm (CST), Room 1

We present the results of interviews and narrative collections carried out with survivors of the 2015 Nepal earthquakes. This study uses transcribed and translated exchanges from 44 narratives representing a larger corpus of 279 narratives and interviews from six Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in areas of Gorkha, Manang, and Mustang, Nepal: Kutang, Lowa, Manange, Nar-Phu, Nubri, and Tsum. Our contribution expands on a body of literature reporting on community interpretations and responses to natural disasters, and it examines what the cultural values, traditions, practices, and social organizations of Himalayan highland communities can teach us about the impacts of natural disasters, especially when the changes and consequences (changes to infrastructure, distribution of relief aid, recovery decisions) come from forces that are often beyond the control of – or out of touch with – the lives of those who are directly impacted by these events (these are often marginalized communities that exist outside of the realm of big decision making and political or large-scale economic power). After a brief presentation of the methods of data collection, we will turn to an analysis of excerpted speech from our sub-set of our corpus. We see two themes emerging: First, that of a juxtaposition of interpretations of the internal world of the body with the external world of the environment; Second: a contrast between survivor understanding of cycles of decay and destruction vs. those of regeneration and renewal. As noted by Bendix (1990: 333), “personal narratives are ...  the primary means at an individual's disposal to regain order out of chaos… Earthquake stories ... illustrate with astounding clarity the interplay between the event, the personal experience thereof, and the structuring of this experience in a meaningful fashion.” Our study further enriches our understanding of the roles that ritual events play in extraordinary times, as encoded through narrative and interview-based approaches. 
Bendix, Regina. Reflections on earthquake narratives. Western Folklore 49.4: 331-347.


NSF funded special session: Standards for Interlinear Glossed Texts in Related Languages
Saturday, October 3rd, 6:15pm-7:45pm (CST). Room 1

Data formats and annotation standards vary widely for transcribed and translated linguistic data. This means that we cannot easily mine data for hypothesis testing and typological discovery. 
In this special session, we meet to explore consensus building on shared annotation standards for Interlinear Glossed Texts (IGT). We invite participants to discuss standards and procedures for the creation of Interlinear Gloss Texts (IGT) and a generalized ontology for annotating linguistic concepts for related languages.  
Recommendations from ICSTLL conference participants and subsequent meetings organized by Shobhana Chelliah, Mary Burke, and Marty Heaton will be documented in a white paper. The white paper will focus on lessons learned including: the power of cross corpora comparison for grammatical analysis, reuse of archived data through improved metadata, and incorporating information of legacy data into current investigations for improved analysis and results. 
6:15 PM James Matisoff keynote  6:45 PM Instructions & Breakout rooms  7:15 PM Discussion and plans for future meetings on the topic
IGT session instructions are here


Linguistically Underserved Communities and Health: the LUCAH project
Shobhana Chelliah, Kelly Berkson, Sara Champlin, Ken Van Bik  
October 4th 5:35- 6:05 pm (CST) Room 1
See story for description of project.
The project will be highlighted in the ICSTLL special presentation here