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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Documentary linguistics is increasingly responsible for documenting not just the grammatical aspects of endangered languages but the sociocultural contexts where they are spoken. An approach called the “ethnography of communication” developed by Dell Hymes in the 1960s offers ethnographic tools that apply specifically to the communicative practices in “speech events,” a key concept in this approach. Hymes created the SPEAKING model, which reminds researchers to take into account a broad range of aspects of communications, including the “setting,” the “participants,” their “ends,” the temporal “act sequence,” the “key” to the tone (e.g., serious or humorous), the linguistic “instrumentalities” used (languages, dialects, registers), the “norms” that govern them, and the “genres” they are performed in. The chapter summarizes this model and then applies it to two different language documentation case studies from indigenous languages of Ecuador to show how it can help strengthen the ethnographic aspects of language documentation.

Keywords: ethnography of communication, language documentation, indigenous languages, Ecuador, Cha’palaa, Imbabura Quechua

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