Pub. Date:
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Linguistic Fieldwork: A Practical Guide

Linguistic Fieldwork: A Practical Guide

by Claire Bowern


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Linguistic Fieldwork is a practical guide to all the steps in linguistic fieldwork, from planning where to work to applying for funding, from the first session on a new language to writing up the data, from turning on the recorder to depositing the recordings in an archive. Claire Bowern provides a realistic account of the process of linguistic fieldwork. Doing field research is not like working in the lab with chemicals: both the field worker and their consultants are real people who interact in complex ways. This book is a guide to conducting that interaction in order to produce research which benefits not only the linguistic community but also language speakers. Given the rapidity of decline in global linguistic diversity, the next 30 years will be crucial for future knowledge of languages all over the world.

About the Author:
Claire Bowern is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Rice University, USA and a member of the Australian National University's Centre for Research on Language Change

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230545380
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 11/28/2007
Edition description: 2008
Pages: 253
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.02(d)

About the Author

CLAIRE BOWERN is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Rice University, USA and a member of the Australian National University's Centre for Research on Language Change. Her primary areas of research are language documentation/description and historical linguistics, particularly in Northern Australia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     xi
Introduction     1
About this book     1
What is 'the field' and what is 'fieldwork'?     2
The term 'informant'     10
Fieldwork and 'Theory'     10
Fieldwork and identity     12
Summary and further reading     14
Technology in the Field     16
Why make recordings?     16
Choosing recording equipment     17
Computers     25
Pen and paper     26
Recording practicalities     27
Checklist for equipment setup     31
Summary and further reading     32
Starting to Work on a Language     34
What to do at the first session     34
Discovering a phoneme inventory     37
More on transcription     39
Common errors and cues     40
Data organization     42
What to record?     43
Summary and further reading     44
Data Organization and Archiving     47
Before the session     49
After the session     52
Software for data processing     54
Metadata     56
Processing field data     59
Archiving     60
Further reading     62
Fieldwork on Phonetics and Phonology     63
Broad and narrow transcription     63
Research design     64
Further topics in phonetic research     67
Suprasegmentals     69
Further topics in phonology     70
Further reading     71
Eliciting: Basic Morphology and Syntax     73
Why do elicitation?     73
First elicitation of sentences     73
Types of data collection     77
Potential problems     84
Summary     91
Further Morphology and Syntax     93
Elicitation of paradigms     93
Productivity     95
Selected topics in morphology     96
Handling unknown morphology     100
Common problems     101
Further topics in syntax and semantics     102
Where to from here?     105
Lexical and Semantic Data     107
Getting vocabulary     107
Lexicon compilation     108
Specific domains for lexical elicitation     109
Frequent lexicographic pitfalls     112
Further reading      114
Discourse, Pragmatics and Narrative Data     115
Working with texts     115
What to do with the materials     118
Discourse data     121
Topics for investigation in discourse and pragmatics     123
Further reading     124
Consultants and Field Locations     125
Field-methods classes and the field     125
Choosing a field site and preparation     126
Choosing a consultant     130
Linguist-consultant interactions     136
Working with semi-speakers     137
Living in the field     139
Coming back from the field     145
Further reading     147
Ethical Field Research     148
Preliminaries     148
Ethics of recording     150
Ethics and archiving     151
Acknowleding speakers     152
Permissions     153
Other ethical issues in research     155
Payment     162
Minority areas and endangered languages     164
Further reading     169
Grant Application Writing     170
Steps to grant writing     170
What to include in a grant application      171
Budgets     173
Human subjects applications     177
Grant management and record keeping     182
What if you can't get a grant?     183
Working with Existing Materials     184
Published resources     184
Other people's fieldnotes     185
Recordings     186
Some further comments about old records     187
Preparing using others' research     190
Further reading     192
Fieldwork Results     193
General issues     193
Orthography design     195
Learners' guides and sketch grammars     198
Reference grammars     199
Training community members     200
Web materials     201
Talking books     202
Dictionaries and wordlists     203
Language revitalization     207
Summary and further reading     209
Metadata Sheets     211
Suggested Fieldwork Programme for an Undescribed Language     212
A Basic Phonetics/Phonology Checklist     213
A Basic Morphology/Syntax Checklist     214
Sample Consent Form     219
Equipment Checklist      222
Basic Wordlist     223
Notes     225
References     231
Index     242

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