Courses in Fieldwork and Language Documentation

Undergraduate Courses

140. Introduction to Field Methods. (3 units.) Covers training and practice in methods for collecting, processing, and analyzing linguistic data based on work with a native speaker of a particular language. Requires students to discriminate and transcribe sounds, collect texts, and to describe and analyze grammatical phenomena in data they have collected.

Graduate Courses

240A (Fall), 240B (Spring). Advanced Linguistic Field Methods. This two-semester graduate-level course provides students with thorough training in modern methods of linguistic fieldwork and language documentation through work with speakers of an understudied language. Students learn how to use important tools for language documentation, such FLEx, ELAN, and recording equipment, as part of a modern language documentation and description workflow that extends from session preparation, through data collection and analysis, to archiving. Students also become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of data collection techniques, such as sentence translation, the use of non-verbal stimuli, and text transcription and translation. Students practice writing concise and relatively theory-neutral linguistic descriptions on particular grammatical topics, as well as developing analyses that engage with specific analytical frameworks and traditions. The course introduces students to the literature that positions language description and language documentation within the field of Linguistics, and explores the ethical, political, and interpersonal dimensions of fieldwork and community engagement. The languages that have previously been the focus of Berkeley field methods classes are listed here.