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  1. Abstract Linguists are seldom, if ever, engaged in work aimed at communicating risk to the general public. The COVID-19 global pandemic and its associated infodemic may change this state of affairs, at least for documentary linguists. Documenting languages may bring researchers in direct contact with communities speaking minority or marginalized languages and gain key insights into their communicative ecologies. By being both immersed in local networks and more or less knowledgeable about the community’s communicative habits, documentary linguists appear to be placed in a unique position to contribute to communicating risk in ways that are better tailored to the community and, therefore, potentially quite effective locally. Furthermore, adding work in risk communication to their agenda may also stimulate documentary linguists to find new models for “giving back” to the communities they work with. In order to provide a concrete example of how all this may play out in concrete terms, we illustrate the virALLanguages project.
  2. Purpose: To contribute to the establishment of a novel approach to language documentation that includes bilingual and multilingual speech data. This approach would open this domain of study to work by specialists of bilingualism and multilingualism. Approach: Within language documentation, the approach adopted in this paper exemplifies the “contemporary communicative ecology” mode of documentation. This radically differs from the “ancestral-code” mode of documentation that characterizes most language documentation corpora. Within the context of multilingualism studies, this paper advocates for the inclusion of a strong ethnographic component to research on multilingualism. Data and Analysis: The data presented comes from a context characterized by small-scale multilingualism, and the analyses provided are by and large focused on uncovering aspects of local metapragmatics. Conclusions: Conducting language documentation in contexts of small-scale multilingualism requires that the adequacy of a corpus is assessed with regard to sociolinguistic, rather than only structural linguistic, requirements. The notion of sociolinguistic adequacy is discussed in detail in analytical terms and illustrated through an example taken from ongoing research led by the authors. Originality: To date, there are no existing publications reviewing in the detail provided here how the documentation of multilingual speech in contexts of small-scale multilingualism should be structured.more »The contribution is highly original, in particular, for its theoretical grounding of the proposed approach. Significance/Implications: This article can serve as a reference for those interested in methodological and theoretical concerns relating to the practice of language documentation in contexts of small-scale multilingualism across the world. It may also help clarify ways for sociolinguists to engage more closely with work on language documentation, a domain that has thus far remained primarily informed by structural linguistic approaches.« less