Those wondering about this new branch of Linguistics i.e. Documentary Linguistics, it is obvious from its name that it has something to do with documentation. Prof Himmelman describes Documentary Linguistics as
The aim of a language documentation is to provide a comprehensive record of the linguistic practices characteristic of a given speech community… This… differs fundamentally from… language description [which] aims at the record of a language… as a system of abstract elements, constructions, and rules
[p, 166, “Documentary and descriptive linguistics”, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann (1998). Linguistics 36. pp. 161-195. Berlin: de Gruyter]
We all know that many of our languages are dying or on the verge of extinction. Language endangerment has become a issue of concern not only for linguists but also for many other activists and workers in the society. Linguistics fraternity across the world has responded to this issue of language endangerment in various ways. One of the fall outs of this united effort is the advent of the field of Documentary Linguistics.
Anthony C Woodbury is one of the pioneers who have helped define this nascent filed of linguistics. To read Hindi translation of his article on Documentary Linguistics (प्रलेखन भाषाविज्ञान), please click below