First Contact Survival Kit – learn an undocumented language from scratch

Wandering off your map, you meet people whose language is totally unknown to linguists. Can you learn to speak? Yes. Here’s how.

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~ Briefly ~

First contact scenarios fascinate us, so I was asked to get animated about how they work from a linguistic perspective. How in the world can you go from total outsider to speaking the language? Start with this first contact survival kit.

In this animation, we’ll go from the legendary and romanticized “contact” scenario to walking through the steps that researchers use to build trust and start speaking a language monolingually. You’ll conclude with questions about the ethics of even doing this in the first place as you stop to consider Indigenous perspectives that reframe your “contact”.

~ Credits ~

Art, narration, animation by Josh from NativLang. Much music, too, including intro and outro theme.

My doc full of sources for claims and credits for music, sfx, fonts and images: