On Monday, December 22, 2003, at 10:32  AM, [log in to unmask]

> Dirk Elzinga scripsit:
>> I think that the *sole* determining factor concerning language
>> preservation efforts should be the wishes of the community.
> Well, I think it's useful to differentiate here between mere
> documentation
> and active anti-language-death measures.  The latter, as you say, are
> plainly
> a matter for the community of speakers or would-be speakers.  I don't
> see,
> however, that there are any ethical strictures against documenting a
> language even if the community (or the larger part of it) is willing
> to let
> the language go extinct.

This distinction is easy for us to make, but there are objections even
to documentation work. I have heard more than once that what I was
doing was "stealing" the language; my access to it was not perceived as
legitimate because I was not a member of the community. In cases like
that one still needs to respect the wishes of the community and desist,
even if the work isn't "active anti-language-death" work. To gain the
long-term trust and cooperation of a community, these things need to be
taken into account.

Dirk Elzinga
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If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so
simple we couldn't.
- Lyall Watson