New e-Books available for free download

(March 2014) In the past year, SIL has released eight downloadable PDFs in the e-Books series, all of which can be downloaded for free. We invite you to visit our Publications page and browse through these and other materials featuring language and culture research from SIL authors around the world.

SIL e-Books are book-length documents on language and culture, often exploring topics from lesser-known and endangered languages. The collection includes both new publications and older publications which are being made publicly available for the first time or re-released after being out of print.

Recently released e-Books include the following:

A Salience Scheme for Hmong Soud: Types of Foreground and Background Information in Narrative Discourse
Carey Elizabeth McLaughlin

This 2012 MA thesis applies principles of discourse analysis to data from Hmong Soud, a variety of Hmong spoken in Yunnan Province, China. McLaughlin analyzes ten narrative texts (traditional folk tales, an animal folk tale, retellings of a video clip, a historical account, and a first person narrative) and presents a narrative salience scheme to describe how the language distinguishes different types of foreground and background information for a particular discourse type. Semantic criteria are applied to each clause to determine the emic salience bands or information types used in Hmong Soud, the linguistic signals used to mark those bands, and signals used to promote or demote clauses between background and foreground.

An Exploration of the Responses of Stakeholders to a Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) Programme Being Implemented in Pilot Schools in Mindanao, Philippines
Xinia Skoropinski

As the Philippines rolled out a nationwide effort to transition to mother tongue instruction in the early grades, Skoropinski focused her research on the perceptions and experiences of teachers, students and parents from several pilot project schools. This 2012 MA thesis presents her findings, including reports from teachers and parents of dramatic improvements in student attitudes, participation and success.

The Segments and Tones of Soyaltepec Mazatec
Heather D. Beal.

Beal’s 2011 PhD dissertation describes aspects of the sound system and use of tone in Soyaltepec Mazatec, an Oto-Manguean language of southern Mexico. While several linguists have noted the complexity of the language’s tonal system, little research or documentation has been conducted since Eunice Pike’s efforts, published in 1956. Beal’s analysis is based on original field data she gathered on research trips to Oaxaca, Mexico. Having documented the ways in which Soyaltepec Mazatec does not group neatly with either African or Asian tonal languages, Beal makes a strong case for investigating tonal languages without typological presumptions.

A Grammar of the Muna Language
René van den Berg

This digital reprint of René van den Berg’s 1989 Ph.D. dissertation represents the author’s first analysis of Muna, an Austronesian language of Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The grammar is a systematic, theory-neutral description of the language and includes six Muna texts representing a range of subject matter and style.

Since the first publication of this study, Van den Berg has continued to be involved in research and language development in the Muna community. His subsequent work in this language includes a Muna-English dictionary and other works of analysis and historical reconstruction.

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