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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Linguistic Fieldwork and Language Description (LASC10050)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn order to investigate undocumented linguistic phenomena, we need to be sensitive to unexpected pieces of data, and to then proceed to examine them. In this course, the student is acquainted with this process by experiencing first-hand the cycle of confusion and hypothesis-testing in the data collection sessions. The lectures and the readings support this process, by offering insight into the range of language structures at different levels of the grammar.

The course covers the following general topics: (1) approaches and issues in fieldwork data collection; (2) analysing the sound system of an unfamiliar language; (3) analysing the morphosyntax of an unfamiliar language. These topics are explored through lectures, data collection sessions with a native-speaker consultant, readings, and two project papers.
Course description Week 1 (starts 15/9) ¿ Introduction and getting ready for first session
Reading: Vaux & Cooper pp. 37-45 (chapter 3 ¿Basic lexicography¿); Payne pp. 111-128 (chapter 6 ¿Predicate nominals and related constructions¿)
Monday 15 of September ¿ lecture
Tuesday 16 of September ¿ lecture
Friday 18 of September ¿ data collection

Week 2 (starts 22/9) ¿ The sound system / nouns and noun phrases
Reading: Two Illustration of the IPA papers (Tuttle & Sandoval 2002, Remijsen & Manyang 2009)
Monday 22 of September ¿ lecture
Tuesday 23 of September ¿ data collection
Friday 26 of September ¿ data collection

Week 3 (starts 29/9) ¿ The sound system / nouns and noun phrases
Reading: Payne pp. 192-110 (chapter 5 ¿Noun and noun phrase operations¿)
Monday 29 of September ¿ lecture
Tuesday 30 of September ¿ data collection
Friday 4 of October ¿ data collection

Week 4 (starts 6/10) ¿ The sound system / nouns and noun phrases
Reading: Payne pp. 32-70 (chapter 3 ¿Grammatical categories¿)
Monday 6 of October ¿ lecture
Tuesday 7 October ¿ data collection
Friday 10 of October ¿ data collection

Week 5 (starts 13/10)
Reading: Matthewson (2004)
No lecture nor data collection sessions

Week 6 (starts 20/10) ¿ The verb system
***Monday 20 of October ¿ deadline to hand in project paper***
Reading: Payne pp. 129-139 (sections 7.1 and 7.2 of chapter 7 ¿Grammatical relations¿), plus revision of chapter 8 ¿Voice and valence adjusting operations¿ [familiar from LEL2D]
Monday 20 of October ¿ lecture
Tuesday 21 of October ¿ data collection
Friday 24 of October ¿ data collection

Week 7 (starts 27/10) ¿ The verb system
Reading: Payne pp. 223-260 (chapter 9 ¿Other verb and verb-phrase operations¿)
Monday 27 of October ¿ lecture
Tuesday 28 of October ¿ data collection
Friday 31 of October ¿ data collection

Week 8 (starts 3/11) - The verb system
Reading: [to be determined later]
Monday 3 of November ¿ lecture
Tuesday 4 of November ¿ data collection
Friday 7 of November ¿ data collection

Week 9 (starts 10/11)
Reading: Dryer (2006)
Monday 10 of November ¿ lecture
Tuesday 11 of November ¿ data collection
Friday 14 of November ¿ data collection

Week 10 (starts 17/11)
Reading: Woodbury (2003)
Monday 17 of November ¿ lecture
Tuesday 18 of November ¿ data collection
Friday 21 of November ¿ data collection
Monday 1 of December ¿ deadline to hand in project paper
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Linguistics 2A (LASC08006) AND Linguistics 2B (LASC08013)) OR ( Linguistics 2A (LASC08006) AND Linguistics 2Lh: Structure and History of the Western European Languages (LASC08007))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
This course prepares the participants for linguistic fieldwork. To that end, the course goals are:
(1) to familiarize the participants with two data collection techniques: controlled elicitation and text analysis;
(2) to accustom the participants to independently process and analyze linguistic data;
(3) to enable the participants to develop a descriptive analysis through a dialectic between data collection and reflection upon those data.
Reading List
Dryer, Matthew S. (2006). Descriptive theories, explanatory theories, and basic linguistic theory. In Felix Ameka, Alan Dench, & Nicholas Evans (eds.) Catching language: issues in grammar writing. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Matthewson, Lisa (2004). On the methodology of semantic fieldwork. International Journal of American Linguistics 70, 369-415.

Payne, Thomas E. (1997). Describing Morphosyntax: A guide for field linguists. Cambridge University Press.

Remijsen, Bert & Caguor Adong Manyang (2009). Luanyjang Dinka. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39(1), 113-124. [please use the version with embedded sound examples]

Tuttle, Siri & Merton Sandoval (2002) Jicarilla Apache. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 32(1), 105-112.

Vaux, Bert & Justin Cooper (1999). Introduction to linguistic field methods. Lincom Europe.

Woodbury, Tony (2003). Defining documentary linguistics. Language Documentation and Description 1, 35-51.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills In this course the students develop several skills that are of relevant outside the study of linguistics: (1) collecting, processing, and analysing original qualitative data; (2) to solve problems through critical analysis of original data.
Additional Class Delivery Information 1. Sessions with native-speaker consultant
The sessions with a native-speaker consultant constitute the backbone of the course. Active participation is essential here ¿ it is up to the students themselves to elicit most of the data. These sessions make up two thirds of the total contact time. In these sessions, the participants elicit data from a native speaker of an unfamiliar language, and analyse narrative material with the native speaker¿s assistance. The students themselves prepare the material to be elicited before the session. Recordings are made at several points, to support the analysis of the sound system and the grammar, and also to have a narrative to use for text analysis.

Initially, the students elicit words in isolation and in simple sentences. When they have developed an understanding of the fundamentals of the sound system, the investigation shifts towards the morphology and syntax of the language, and the constructions become more varied and complex. At some point along the way, we start with text analysis, which provides data that are complementary to the material collected through controlled elicitation.

Performance in the elicitation sessions is part of the assessment (cf. below). In order to perform well in these sessions, the students need to carefully process and analyse the material collected in each session, as soon as possible after the end of the session. This analytic work should then inform the preparation of materials to be collected in the following session.

2. Lectures and readings
The third of the three weekly contact hours is a lecture. Along with the weekly required reading, the lectures support the discovery process in the data collection sessions, and stimulate the linguistic analysis of the resulting data. For example, if there is evidence of lexical specification of tone, the next lecture may offer an introduction on how to investigate tone, and background information on this topic. The lecture is also used to offer feedback and advice on elicitation performance.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Albert Remijsen
Tel: (0131 6)50 6657
Course secretaryMiss Samantha Bell
Tel: (0131 6)50 3602
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