Documentation:Larestani Language Knowledgebase/Methodology

From UBC Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Methodology

 Home Linguistic Resources Cultural Resources Methodology 


There are several factors that complicate attempts at finding linguistic texts on the Lārestāni language. First, the name by which the language is referred to is not standardized. In the community, it is referred to as Lārestāni, Lāri, Achomi, Khodmooni, or sometimes as a particular dialect, e.g. Khonji, Bastaki. These variations in naming must therefore be taken into consideration when conducting searches for materials. Second, most of the research on the language has been conducted by outside linguists — either Farsi-speakers or speakers of other non-Iranian languages — who may not have prioritized the needs of the communities they were interacting with. Furthermore, this has also meant that publications have been produced in a variety of languages. I am a speaker of Lārestāni, English and Farsi and as such, I am limited to using my writing and research skills in English and Farsi to locate sources. I may miss texts that have been created in other languages purely because I am unable to search for them appropriately. In addition, a great deal of the texts available on the language are physical texts produced and published in the 20th century. For many of these, digital copies do not exist, and physical copies prove difficult to locate.

The search started with a look at the Glottolog bibliography for the Lārestāni language and searches conducted on the University of British Columbia's Library Summons, as it provides me with access to research materials and other texts as a student at the institution. I initially attempted to search for the resources listed on Glottolog through the UBC Library Summons to see what documents I would be able to locate and access through the library and what documents would require a deeper search. I then conducted searches using a variety of keywords; "Larestan," "Larestani," "Achomi," "Ajami," "Khodmooni," as bigger target words for resources on the language as a whole, and also the names of the specific dialects for a narrower search like "Lari," "Khonji," "Gerashi," etc. These searches were conducted on other databases, too, such as JSTOR, websites like ResearchGate and Academia.edu, and SIR.ir - an Iranian journal databank. I searched on Google, as well, in both English and Farsi for any grey literature that would maybe not come up on those databanks and for web resources. In English searches, the romanization of the names did not include any diacritics.

I gleaned over the resources from those primary searches for their relevance and the content itself, to ascertain what topics and aspects of the language they covered. Sources that did not regard Lārestāni principally in their subject matter were categorized as secondary sources, this category was also extended to reviews of other published work regarding the language. Metadata on each source was compiled into a spreadsheet as well as details on where I had first been able to access the source and any other possible modes/platforms through which it could be accessed. From there, "backward" reference searches were also performed on the individual sources, meaning they were assessed for the works they cited and referenced to see if anything from those bibliographies came up that were relevant to Lārestāni specifically that was missing from the searches I had performed. Using Google Scholar, I also preformed "forward" searches to look at the publications that came after the texts I had sourced that referenced them.

A limitation for my personal ability to find texts is that my Farsi is limited to social use. I am not familiar with a lot of technical and academic jargon and I, furthermore, do not have any experience with Farsi academic and research institutions. Therefore, I am not particularly aware of Farsi-based databanks and directories through which more resources could be found, but also from which I could perhaps gain access to certain resources I had found mentions of but not entirely located that were published in Farsi. This is a shortcoming as there possibly could be even more texts in Farsi than the ones I had found but not yet located, considering Farsi is the primary language in Iran and the only official language used in institutions; including schools and universities. Thus, there may be more research involvement with Lārestāni among other Iranian linguists who are closer in proximity (or even in relation) to the community and the language; more so than work from or by non-Iranian, foreign linguists. This is a huge area to expand upon and something that would be crucially dependent on engagement with other community members who have further insight into the processes to locating and accessing these important resources.