This is a concise guide and an excellent introduction to the complicated issues of language reconstruction. Finding out about languages that are no longer spoken, or those that are still spoken by only a few people, can be a long and difficult process.
Taking texts and wordlists from historical sources and making them useful in current language programs and literature presents a variety of challenges. While some early recording of Australian indigenous languages was quite good, much of it was done by people who were not expecting to find complicated grammars or a rich understanding of the natural environment. In some areas of research there may be material recorded by trained linguists available to help decipher the relationship between written forms and the sound they are meant to represent.
Each contributor to Paper and Talk works through some of the complex issues vital to language workers in an accessible, easy-to-read style. Exercises throughout the book provide immediate ways for readers to put some of the ideas into practice, and to experience the frustrations of this kind of language work.