The use of computational methods in the study of endangered languages
52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
26 June 2014

Original call for papers for ACL workshop

Workshop description

Contemporary efforts to document the world’s endangered languages—often going under the rubric of documentary linguistics—are dependent on the widespread availability of modern recording technologies, in particular digital audio and video recording devices and software to annotate the recordings that such devices produce. However, despite well over a decade of dedicated funding efforts aimed at the documentation of endangered languages, the technological landscape that supports the work of those involved in this work remains fragmented, and the promises of new technology remain largely unfulfilled. Moreover, the efforts of computer scientists, on the whole, are mostly disconnected from the day-to-day work of documentary linguists, making it difficult for the knowledge of each group to inform the other. On the one hand, this deprives documentary linguists of tools making use of the latest research results to speed up the time-consuming task of describing an underdocumented language. On the other hand, it severely limits the ability of computational linguists to test their methods on the full range of world’s linguistic diversity.

This workshop seeks to address this state of affairs by bringing together papers exploring the use of computational methods to facilitate the documentation and study of endangered languages. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: (i) examining the use of specific computational methods in the analysis of data from low-resource languages, with a focus on endangered languages, (ii) proposing new models for the collection and management of data in endangered language settings, and (iii) considering what concrete steps are required to allow for a more fruitful interaction between computer scientists and documentary linguists. The workshop’s intention is not merely to allow for the presentation of research on these topics but also to help build a community of computational and documentary linguists who are able to effectively pair together to serve their common interests.

Submission information

Both long and short papers following ACL guidelines are eligible for submission. Long paper submissions should follow the two-column format of ACL 2014 proceedings without exceeding eight (8) pages of content plus two extra pages for references. Short paper submissions should also follow the two-column format of ACL 2014 proceedings, and should not exceed four (4) pages plus at most 2 pages for references. We strongly recommend the use of ACL LaTeX style files or Microsoft Word style files tailored for this year’s conference. Submissions must conform to the official style guidelines, which are contained in the style files, and they must be in PDF. Submission should be done via the START Conference Manager at

Funding possibilites

This workshop is being supported by U.S. National Science Foundation Award no. 1404352. Through this award, and related sources, funding may be available for those with accepted papers to attend the workshop, especially students. Please contact Jeff Good ( for further information.

Important Dates

18 November 2013: First Call for Workshop Papers

9 February 2014: Second Call for Workshop Papers

14 March 2014: 21 March 2014: Workshop Paper Due Date

11 April 2014: Notification of Acceptance

28 April 2014: Camera-ready papers due

26 June 2014: Workshop Dates

Organizing committee

Jeff Good, University at Buffalo (

Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University

Owen Rambow, Columbia University

Program Committee

Steven Abney, University of Michigan

Helen Aristar-Dry, LINGUIST List

Alexandre Arkhipov, Moscow State University

Tim Baldwin, University of Melbourne

Dorothee Beermann, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Emily M. Bender, University of Washington

Andrea Berez, University of Hawaii

Steven Bird, University of Melbourne

Damir Cavar, Eastern Michigan University

Guy De Pauw, University of Antwerp

Sebastian Drude, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Harald Hammarström, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Judith Klavans, University of Maryland

Terry Langendoen, University of Arizona

Lori Levin, Carnegie Mellon University

Will Lewis, Microsoft

Mark Liberman, University of Pennsylvania

Worthy Martin, University of Virginia

Mike Maxwell, Center for the Advanced Study of Language

Steven Moran, University of Zurich

Alexander Nakhimovsky, Colgate University

Sebastian Nordhoff, Glottotopia

Alexis Palmer, Saarland University

Kevin Scannell, Saint Louis University

Gary Simons, SIL International

Nick Thieberger, University of Melbourne

Paul Trilsbeek, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Doug Whalen, CUNY Graduate Center

Menzo Windhouwer, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Fei Xia, University of Washington

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This workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation under Award no. 1404352. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.