Bai Bibo and Xu Xianming, Yuxi Normal University professors, spoke Tuesday in CoLang’s Model Talk about documentation of endangered languages in Yunnan, China.
“We hope that in the future more people come to China because there are many languages that are not described yet, not documented yet, not archived yet,” Bibo said.
CoLang’s public events, Model Talk, are presentations that focus on native-language projects from communities from around the world.
A husband and wife team, Bibo and Xianming gave the audience a look at linguistic surveys, minority language identification and orthography design, and described the problems and pressures that exist in small language communities in the 21st century. They also talked about the challenges and successes of language documentation in China.
“Most of the languages in Yunnan are vulnerable,” Xianming said. “Documentation has been a challenge because the languages disappear faster than the documentation itself.”
Edith Diaz, CoLang volunteer and Spanish studies senior, said her experience with the program has been positive and she enjoys the events she’s participated in.
“What’s great about the Model Talks is that you get to learn different things about culture, languages and what these speakers are doing to help,” Diaz said.
Diaz said she loves languages and would be interested in going to different locations around the world to learn language and culture.