Episode 12: Keren Rice, part 2, on Community-Based Research

One great interview deserves another! This week we are continuing our conversation with Dr. Keren Rice of the University of Toronto. We turn from the Dene languages to Community-based Research in the field of Linguistics. What are the concepts behind “working together” with a community to accomplish linguistic and anthropological goals? Tune in to find out!


  • the difficulty in working among a group without “getting involved”
  • the community’s expectation of the linguist
  • the role of the linguist in community-based research
  • Can you understand the language without “getting involved”?
  • the community’s role vs the linguist’s role
  • Is there a role for the “lone ranger” linguist?
  • Are you really cooperating if you’re paying?
  • the “perceived needs” of the community
  • the “intangibles” things everybody gains from community-based research (see Czaykowska-Higgins below)
  • Community-based Research buzzwords: empowerment, autonomy, sharing of responsibility and authority, mutually beneficial, equitable, relationships, trust, legacy
  • What in the world is Łeghágots’enetę, and why is it important? What does it have to do with caribou DNA?
  • the “R” words: Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility, Relationships
  • finding the “right space” for your life and work
  • Are you “wasting your yarn“?
  • Is there a significant difference between learning about the language and learning about the culture? or language structure vs language use?
  • What does it mean for Community-based Research to be action oriented?


  • Crippen, James A., and Laura C. Robinson. 2013. “In Defense of the Lone Wolf: Collaboration in Language Documentation.” Language Documentation & Conservation 7: 123–35.
  • Bowern, Claire, and Natasha Warner. 2015. “‘Lone Wolves’ and Collaboration: A Reply to Crippen & Robinson (2013).” Language Documentation & Conservation 9: 59–85.
  • Robinson, Laura, and James Crippen. 2015. “Collaboration: A Reply to Bowern & Warner’s Reply.Language Documentation & Conservation 9: 86–88.
  • Polfus, Jean L., Micheline Manseau, Deborah Simmons, Michael Neyelle, Walter Bayha, Frederick Andrew, Leon Andrew, Cornelya F.C. Klütsch, Keren Rice, and Paul Wilson. 2016. “Łeghágots’enetę (Learning Together): The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in the Identification of Biological Variation.” Ecology and Society 21 (2).
  • Rice, Keren. 2006. “Ethical Issues in Linguistic Fieldwork: An Overview.Journal of Academic Ethics 4 (1): 123–55.
  • Rice, Keren. 2006. “Let the Language Tell Its Story? The Role of Linguistic Theory in Writing Grammars.” In Catching Language: The Standing Challenge of Grammar Writing, edited by Felix K. Ameka, Alan Dench, and Nicholas Evans, 235–68. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 167. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Rice, Keren. 2010. “The Linguist’s Responsibilities to the Community of Speakers.” In Language Documentation: Practice and Values, edited by Lenore A. Grenoble and N. Louanna Furbee, 25–36. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Rice, Keren. 2011. “Documentary Linguistics and Community Relations.Language Documentation & Conservation 5: 187–207.
  • Rice, Keren. 2015. “Collaboration in Language Documentation and Revitalization: Community-Based Research.” In 90th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Washington, DC.
  • Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa. 2009. “Research Models, Community Engagement, and Linguistic Fieldwork: Reflections on Working within Canadian Indigenous Communities.Language Documentation & Conservation 3 (1): 15–50.

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