b. For any statement about the property of a language, you must illustrate this with
an example. E.g., if you say a language is synthetic, give a word or sentence that
c. Examples (words, phrases, or sentences from the language) should have glosses
and a translation into English. You may copy the format given in our book, or I
can help you format your examples.
d. Avoid comparing languages and language features to English. Of course, you
may choose to select English as your language to write about!
e. Include a section explaining why you chose your topic. You may find that it is
best to put this section at either the beginning of the paper or near the end. The
overall structure of this section is largely up to you.
f. Overall, organize the paper in a meaningful way.
g. Include clear and engaging topic sentences introducing each paragraph, as well as
good transitions between paragraphs. This is a good time to recall/use what you
learned in English composition classes.
2) This section is for papers which will focus on a particular language. Clearly
and accurately state the name of the language under discussion, estimated number of speakers, language family the language belongs to, where the language is (mainly) spoken, and the language’s endangerment status (information available in the Ethnologue for most cases, although notice the page-view limits of http://www.ethnologue.com).
a. State at least four linguistic features of the language. Here are examples: morphological type of the language; word order of the language; sound system; what the consonants and vowels are like; if there is vowel harmony; if there is tone; if there is an unusual counting system; the type of writing system; etc. Your sources will most likely have consulted a grammar of the language to have found these facts out, but you may yourself end up citing an actual grammar directly.
b. Include a map showing where the language is spoken (source can be from anywhere online for this particular item).
c. Include from the language of interest a proverb, brief poem, lyrics from a traditional song, or an excerpt from a legend or myth. Offer a translation. This literary selection should be no longer than one paragraph or so in length.
d. Do only one of the following depending on whether you focused on a heritage language (i), or if you pursue specifically an endangered language you have no connection with (ii). Note, of course, that your language of choice may not fall into either of the categories in a. or b.
i When discussing a heritage language, include a section where you discuss the status of the heritage language in your family. For example, do all your relatives speak it? Can you speak it or have you tried to study it in school (optional to answer)? Can you communicate with grandparents and other relatives using the heritage language (also optional to answer)? Is the language used on special occasions? Discuss what relationship the heritage language has with you and your family.
ii When discussing an endangered language, explain why you chose that language to study. Explain what has caused the language to be endangered and what efforts are underway with respect to extending the viability of the language. For example, it might be that no special efforts are underway either from government forces or individual ethnic groups to save the language and it looks like it is likely to become unspoken soon. On the other hand, there could be government or private efforts to maintain or revitalize the language. Discuss this. Offer your opinion on the revitalization process (if one exists).
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