James Matisoff, Professor

Closed (1) Window onto a Vanished World: translation and analysis of Lahu texts from Thailand in the 1960's

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2018.

I have been working on Lahu (a Southeast Asian language with about a million speakers) off and on since 1965-66, and have published a grammar (1973) and dictionary (1988) of the language. For the past several years I have been working toward publishing the approximately 150 Lahu texts I recorded in Thailand during my fieldtrips there in the 60's and '70's. This work has been subsidized by an NSF grant, which has now expired. These texts will be published both in print form and electronically, and will constitute the largest collection of texts from any minority SE Asian language. So far all the texts have been provided with interlinear word-by-word glosses, as well as with free translations and many footnotes.

Over the next few weeks I will finish revising my interlinear and free translations. What now needs to be done is to convert the free translations and footnotes into the LateX format, a painstaking but not too difficult task for someone with computer aptitude. I would greatly appreciate the help of a computer-savvy undergraduate to undertake this job. I feel that this would be quite a rewarding experience for him/her, especially if the person has a flair for unusual, exotic languages.

Qualifications: A familiarity with Windows would be desirable. My project site (see below) has an aging and rather cranky computer, which is still serviceable if handled with care. The student should ideally have an interest in linguistics, although this is not absolutely necessary. What is essential is that the student be painstaking and careful, since pre-publication standards are high, and errors must be kept to a minimum.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: 2505 Channing, Suite #11