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Linguistic Dynamics Science Project 2 (LingDy2)

This project is a strategic project of ILCAA that aims (1) to advance and support the documentation and conservation of endangered and under-studied languages; (2) to advance the research on the nature of the structural diversity among human languages and on the complex dynamics that shape the linguistic structure.

The project is part of the larger-scale Linguistic Dynamics Science Project (LingDy) and builds on the work of the first phase of LingDy (AY2008-2012). It is run in collaboration with the Endangered Language Project at the London University, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Great Britain and with the Department of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. The project was launched in 2013 as a five-year project under the financial support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The project inherits from LingDy-1 its commitment to the advancement of the understanding and preservation of linguistic diversity, but it also has a broader scope, with additional emphases on outreach activities (capacity-building and collaborative research) and application of academic research outcomes in wider social contexts. Academic research on linguistic diversity and its endangerment has matured over the last two decades: the methodology is now clearly established, and the vast quantity of high-quality research has resulted in numerous and regular publications. However, the outcome of academic research has yet to be widely felt and to be made fully accessible to the local speaker communities and the wider society. With the heightened urgency of language endangerment, it has become important for academic institutions to make a stronger commitment to the social application of academic research. LingDy-2’s current emphases on ‘outreach’ and ‘application’ have emerged in response to this situation.

LingDy-2’s efforts are directed particularly toward capacity-development and building a collaborative network in support of the research on linguistic diversity and its endangerment. The goal is to create self-sustaining support mechanisms that will last well beyond the duration of the project.

LingDy-2 consists of the following groups of activities:

  1. Building a research network focused on language diversity and language endangerment
    a) Expanding academic collaborative research:
    • i) Research on endangered languages: collection and digitization/utilization of the primary data
    • ii) Research on structural diversity among languages
    b) Expanding collaborative research with speaker communities
    • i) Developing the methods of community outreach and public dissemination of academic research
    • ii) Developing research collaboration and capacity-building in the endangered language communities
  2. Building infrastructure in support of the research network
    • i) Online platform for research collaboration
    • ii) Archive of data and materials of endangered and under-studied languages
  3. Training the next-generation of researchers
    • i) Offering training workshops
    • ii) Fostering a researcher community
    • iii) Providing opportunities for gaining professional experience in planning and organization of collaborative research

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