LSA.301 | Field Methods
Mary Laughren, David Nash, and Jane Simpson
location: 32-D461 and 2-139
course web site: http://lsa.dlp.mit.edu/Class/301
An exciting part of studying linguistics is learning how to learn a language from speakers rather than from books. At the same time, as the number of languages facing extinction increases, the task of working with speakers to help maintain their languages is increasingly urgent. We will work with a speaker of a poorly described language to document and analyze linguistic data, ranging from words to speech events. We will consider techniques for eliciting, recording, transcribing, archiving and presenting linguistic material. This will include the importance of ethnographic work, video and audio recording, and the creation and use of digital data. At the same time we will discuss ethical issues of working on languages, including return of materials to communities. Students will be encouraged to carry out both group work and an individual project which may result in the production of dictionaries, web-pages, grammatical sketches, language-learning materials.
Students are encouraged to read in advance:
S. Bird and G. Simons. 2003. “Seven dimensions of portability for language documentation and description.” Language 79:557-582.
N. Himmelmann. 1998. “Documentary and descriptive linguistics." Linguistics 36:161-195.