Foundation for Endangered Languages

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13. Last Word

Trust me: Iím a linguist

I canít help quoting this, from Michael Walshís hand-out for a talk at the Australian Linguistic Society in Macquarie University, Sydney on 14 July this year. He was addressing the theme: What does Linguistics have to do with Language Revitalization? Although heís a pretty passable linguist himself, he seems here to be taking the perspective of a member of a language community.

Linguists are like lawyers



∑ there is a problem to be solved
∑ the problem requires specialist, usually non-local expertise
∑ acquire non-local expertise as needed
∑ disengage with non-local expertise if no good / no longer needed
∑ re-engage if thereís a problem, so you may need a trouble-shooting guide
∑ you donít want them living in your pocket, but itís possible to become friends with them.