Transcription as family affair – representing variation in the Dene language acquisition study
The Dene Sųlıné language acquisition study (DESLAS) started in 2015 in Northern Saskatchewan (Canada) to document children’s language learning (between 2 and 4 years of age). The longitudinal study aims to have at least 4 children 4 hours per month recorded. The recordings are usually done by the mother or a relative of the child at home. We aim at a natural setting, i.e. oftentimes the family will set up the camera in the evening in the living room with several family members present.
Due to difficulties in the field we had to start and stop with different families several times, leading to a much larger corpus than initially envisioned. In order to transcribe the recordings (as of January 2017 446 sessions with about 380 hours of recordings) without access to previous linguistic documentation of this variety, some of the families that record also started to transcribe using ELAN. The transcription process started to reveal a wealth of speaker knowledge regarding intra-generational as well as inter-generational language varieties. The question of the depth of their representation in ELAN/Toolbox is still being tested. In this talk I will present data discussed by the transcribers that lead to representational problems for the linguist.
Dr Dagmar Jung, Senior Researcher