Field Methods

Course time: 
Monday/Thursday 3:30-5:20 PM
Tuesday/Friday 3:30-5:20 PM
Monday/Thursday: JSB 114, JSB 121, JSB 161N
Tuesday/Friday: JSB 221, JSB 121, JSB 261M

This course provides an introduction to linguistic field methods. Working with a speaker of a language that the class does not know, we will attempt to determine the structure of the language, including the phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic systems through a combination of structured elicitation techniques, non-verbal prompts, and by analyzing texts elicited from the speaker. The course covers elicitation techniques, data management, transcription and analysis, with close attention to describing a language on its own terms. In keeping with the focus of the theme of the 2017 Summer Institute, we will focus some of our time on eliciting spatial language.

This is a double course: we will hold four two-hour class meetings per week. In addition, students will be expected to conduct small-group elicitation sessions outside of class. Each week, three days of class time will be organized around group elicitation in teams and analysis of technique and results. On the fourth day of class time for a discussion of general readings on language documentation and description; its role in linguistic inquiry; and the role of linguistics and linguistic training in community efforts to preserve and support local languages.

Language: The field methods language for 2017 is Kalaallisut (ISO 639-3 kal), also known as Greenlandic, Sisimiut variety.

Prerequisite: Background training in linguistics. Students should be able to transcribe and do morphological and syntactic analysis.