In 2007 the Department of Linguistics at SOAS, University of London, celebrated its 75th anniversary with an international conference on Language Documentation and Linguistic Theory (LDLT). The conference marked the 75 year tradition of linguistics within SOAS, and the 5th anniversary of the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, comprising the Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP), the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR), and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP).
The conference brought together researchers working on linguistic theory and language documentation and description, with a particular focus on innovative work on underdescribed or endangered languages, especially those of Asia and Africa. The goal was to provide a forum to discuss the ways that linguists and others, especially community members, can respond to the current challenges to linguistic diversity and build on experiences of the past.
The main conference themes have been:
- implications of language documentation and description for linguistic theory
- implications of linguistic theory for language documentation and description
- experiences of language documentation and description and linguistic theory at SOAS
- new techniques and opportunities for documenting and describing languages
- community-oriented outcomes of endangered languages research
Proceedings were prepared for the first four conferences:
- Peter K. Austin, Oliver Bond & David Nathan (eds.) 2007. Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Description. London: SOAS.
- Peter K. Austin, Oliver Bond, Monik Charette, David Nathan & Peter Sells (eds.) 2009. Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Description 2. London: SOAS.
- Peter K. Austin, Oliver Bond, Lutz Marten & David Nathan (eds.) 2011. Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Description 3. London: SOAS.
- Aicha Belkadi, Kakia Chatsiou & Kirsty Rowan (eds.) 2013. Proceedings of Conference on Language Documentation and Description 4. London: SOAS.
The papers are republished here as platinum open access under a creative commons licence. Copyright rests with the authors.
Note: the image on the cover of the proceedings volumes represents a cross-section of a tree (the symbol of SOAS) and includes 75 rings, one for each year from the founding of the the university in 1932 to the first conference in 2007. Design and layout for all the volumes was carried out by Tom Castle.