The HALA Project: Hawaii Assessment of Language Access


Overview:
The HALA Project (Hawaii Assessment of Language Access) uses psycholinguistic techniques to assess language strength/activation in speakers. Its goal is to develop a series of tasks that might be used to detect early signs of language endangerment, differences in language access across communities or language cohorts, the effectiveness of language conservation programs or heritage programs, and the relative language access of individuals. Local lead investigators: William O'Grady, ogrady at hawaii dot edu and  Amy Schafer, aschafer at hawaii dot edu.

Mission Statement:
Concern over the perilous plight of a large portion of the world’s languages has far outstripped the development of the methods needed to assess the state of their decline and to monitor the success of revitalization efforts. To date, researchers have been forced to rely on indirect and informal measures of language loss and endangerment—anecdotal reports by field workers and self-assessments by the speakers themselves in response to questionnaires, census surveys, and the like. In many cases, this information simply confirms a decline that is already firmly entrenched, perhaps irreversibly, for lack of earlier indications of endangerment.
The Hawai‘i Assessment of Language Access (HALA) project offers a simple and effective way to assess language strength in bilinguals. Based on independently established psycholinguistic principles, the HALA tests exploit the fact that the relative strength of two (or more) languages is reflected in the speed with which their words and structure-building routines are accessed in the course of speech. Test results can therefore be used to assess language attrition and revitalization in bilingual communities of many different types. The HALA tests are designed to be language-neutral; they can be used to investigate any combination of languages.
Because of their adaptability, the HALA test are currently being used to investigate a variety of phenomena in addition to language loss and revitalization, including heritage language acquisition, language attrition in children whose parents move from community to community, linguistic proficiency in monolingual autistic children, and even second language acquisition. 

See the list of researchers in the project here.

Downloadable articles:
O'Grady et al. talk to the first International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, March 2009 [PDF]

O'Grady, et al. 2009. A Psycholinguistic Tool for the Assessment of Language Loss: The HALA Project. Language Documentation & Conservation 3(1):100-112. [PDF]

Schafer, et al. 2009. On the Psycholinguistic Assessment of Relative Language Strength in Bilinguals: Evidence from Korean Heritage Speakers. MAPLL. [PDF]

Tang, Apay (Ai-Yu). 2010. Baseline results from a psycholinguistic tool for the assessment of language shift in Truku Seediq. Hawaii Working Papers in Linguistics 41.5. Available at <http://www.ling.hawaii.edu/research/WorkingPapers/wp-tang2.pdf>.

For access to the HALA materials and protocols:
Contact Amy Schafer or William O'Grady

Department Updates

NEW Roshan Institute Fellowship is now available. Click for more information.

NEW Professors Andrea Berez and Victoria Anderson receive NSF grant for the 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation.

NEW Amy Schafer awarded large NSF grant

Research team discovers existence of Hawai'i Sign Language, the last of America's undiscovered languages

Click here to view University of Hawaii at Manoa press release about Hawai'i sign language discovery.

Click here to view Hawai'i sign language demonstration.

Google Partners with UH Mānoa Linguistics on Endangered Languages Project

Bilinski Fellowships in Linguistics - Pre-dissertation fellowship added to the dissertation fellowships. Click here for information. Click here to view the 2011 Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship video.

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Wait List for Ling 102 Unit Mastery. Write to linguist@hawaii.edu

General Ed in Linguistics -
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Unit Mastery LING 150B and LING 102 as well as classroom formats.
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Fall 2014 course schedule and descriptions.(PDF)

List of potential committee members


Language Documentation Training Center

Language Documentation & Conservation