Isuma TV

This afternoon I read an ILAT message about a new website for indigenous filmmakers, Isuma TV. They have quite a few short films, many set in the arctic. Maana, for example, is a short flick about a man somewhere in Nunavut who decides on a unique approach to fighting skyrocketing energy consumption in his village. There’s quite a range of topics, from Greenlandic children’s television to Nunavut’s own Inuit rock video.

On a related note, I’m currently in Alaska doing some more fieldwork with Iñupiaq speakers. Today’s weather prompted them to teach me, among other things, the word paulġin [ġ = ʁ] , which means ‘shovel’ (n.), at least in one dialect.

I’m doing my best to wade through the dizzying number of ways to accomplish coordination and subordination in the language. One difficulty I’m having in elicitation sessions is getting examples with the valency I’m interested in. For example, if I’m trying to test constituency in transitive clauses, inevitably I get all my nouns nicely incorporated into intransitive verbs. If I’m trying to get examples of incorporated nouns, I get nothing but transitive sentences. Figures! It doesn’t mean I don’t love the examples that I’m getting, it just makes it all the more interesting seeing what I end up with.

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2 thoughts on “Isuma TV

  1. James Crippen January 17, 2008 / 7:42 pm

    Sometimes I figure it’s easier to just let my informants lead me than it is to try and get them to conform to my tests. If all I get is some unexpected construction that I don’t really want, I go ahead and poke around with that construction by trying to swap stuff in and out, basically abandoning the other. I figure I’ll get around to the problematic one later after I’ve thought about it more, and that way I don’t test the patience of the people I’m working with. Fortunately for you, Iñupiaq people have a very good sense of patience…

  2. tulugaq January 19, 2008 / 1:58 pm

    Oh, I agree that sessions work best when the consultant really gets on a roll, giving me what they think is interesting. I don’t have a problem with that at all, and like you said, you end up with some fantastic data. Yesterday I was hoping for more subordination but got tons of antipassives, and I was pleased as punch. Had fun testing different possibilities with my consultant.

    But, that being said, I always have a list of topics to cover for when the consultant is drawing a blank or on rare days when she asks me, “So, what do you want to know today?”

    I don’t object to consultant-driven sessions EXCEPT for when I have a gaping hole in my data and it never gets resolved. I’m sure my committee wouldn’t appreciate it if I showed up to my dissertation defense and said that I didn’t get the data because the consultant didn’t produce it and I never thought to ask. It’s balancing the consultant-driven elicitation with the topics that need to be covered in order to produce a useful end product. (Now, if it were a 100% community-based project, it wouldn’t be up to me to decide what to produce. The reality is that that approach doesn’t work for a dissertation.)

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