(Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2004)
There is a growing need for linguists working with endangered languages to be able to provide documentation of those languages that will serve two functions, not only the analysis and presentation of examples and texts, but also the means for accessing the material in the future. In this paper I describe a workflow for building documentation into a language description developed in the course of writing a grammar of South Efate, an Oceanic language of Vanuatu, for a PhD dissertation. I suggest that, with appropriate tools, the effort of recording and transcribing documentary field recordings can result in a media corpus from which we can produce instant links between text and media, which in turn enriches our analysis. Further, these annotations are in an ideal form for archiving and for providing access to data by the speakers of the language. I take it as axiomatic that we must archive our recordings and associated material and that this step is integral to the larger project of language documentation.