Fieldwork and Language Documentation

Language Revitalization Working Group

The Language Revitalization Working Group critically examines theories, methodologies, and applications of language revitalization in a variety of world contexts. It provides a centralized venue for interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners of language revitalization to share, present, discuss, and improve their language revitalization efforts.

Survey updates

March 29, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • We released a new collection of many hours of video recordings of Kawaiisu (Uto-Aztecan; California), featuring siblings Luther Girado (1941-2021), Betty Hernandez (1944-2014), and Lucille Hicks. In the videos, their team -- with Julie Turner, Laura Grant, Jon Hammond, and others -- is usually headed somewhere, talking about land and history, or doing something, like making elderberry jelly. The videos were made between 2012 and 2014 as part of a project funded by an NSF DEL grant awarded to the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center.
  • The Berkeley Language Center continues its digitization of their Linguistics Lectures collection, consisting of over 140 lectures given primarily as part of departmental colloquia between 1960 and 1985. The most recently digitized is a 24-part lecture course, "American Indian Languages," taught by Mary Haas. If you have information about the course (e.g., date, students enrolled), please write to scoil-ling@berkeley.edu.

Survey updates

March 8, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • We've digitized and catalogued 15 reel tapes of sound recordings of Kiliwa (Yuman; Baja California) made by Mauricio Mixco (PhD 1971) primarily between 1966 and 1969, when he was a graduate student in our department. The storytellers were Rufino Ochurte, Braulio Espinoza, and Rodolfo Espinoza. Trinidad Ochurte Espinoza collaborated closely with Prof. Mixco in the transcription and translation of his uncles' stories, many of which were published in 1983 as Kiliwa Texts: "When I have Donned My Crest of Stars." Soon Prof. Mixco will also be archiving his papers with our archive.
  • We've digitized four notebooks of transcribed, glossed texts in Potawatomi (Algonquian; US, Canada; here, here, here, and here) that belonged to Charles Hockett (1916-2000). The texts come from speakers Jim and Alice Spear. The first three notebooks are dated 1940, after Hockett received his PhD in linguistics from Yale (1939) with a dissertation supervised by later Berkeley faculty member Murray Emeneau (1904-2005); all four of them come to us as part of the papers of Laura Buszard-Welcher (PhD 2003).

Berkeley linguists speak at ICLDC

March 1, 2021

A number of Berkeley affiliates and alumni are presenting at the International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation taking place from March 4 to 7, 2021 at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (online):

  • Emotion and Motivation in Language Reclamation (Ruth Rouvier)
  • Emergent multilingual identities among children learning Zapotec (Julia Nee, Rosita Jiménez Lorenzo)
  • Documenting child language in an Indigenous Amazonian community (Amalia Skilton)
  • Talk Story on Collaboration, communities, and relationship-building: Pushing the conversation forward (Badiba Olivier Agodio, Kayla Begay, Tinah Dobola, Octavio León Vázquez, Kate Lindsey, Iara Mantenuto, Jerry William Rain, Katerina Rain, Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada, Hannah Sande, Cheryl Tuttle)
  • pglex: A 'pretty good' lexical service (Ronald Sprouse, Edwin Ko, Andrew Garrett)
  • Zooming through the Pandemic with the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (Leanne Hinton, Carly Tex)
  • Relating the past, present & future: archiving language collections (Raina Heaton, Zachary O'Hagan, Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Susan Smythe Kung, Nick Thieberger, Paul Trilsbeek)
  • Closing plenary: Language Reclamation Through Relational Language Work (Wesley Y. Leonard)

Survey updates

February 22, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Chris Beier and Lev Michael archived a new collection of materials on Andoa (also known as Katsakáti; Zaparoan, Peru). In 2009 the Berkeley team, including Ramón Escamilla (PhD 2012) and Marta Piqueras-Brunet (MA 2008), collaborated for an intensive few days primarily with speakers Juan Mucushua and María Sandi, in addition to Dionisia Arahuanaza and Lidia Arahuanaza. The collection includes sound recordings, fieldnotes, a booklet "Katsakáti: El idioma antiguo del pueblo de Andoas," photographs, and documents deriving from previous documentation of the language in the 1950s by Catherine Peeke and Mary Sargent of SIL International. These are the only known surviving sound recordings of the language.

Survey updates

February 15, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • We released a new collection of materials on Tswefap (Grassfields Bantu; Cameroon), from the 2015-2016 graduate field methods course. The consultant was Guy Tchatchouang, the instructors were Larry Hyman and Steven Bird, and students were Geoff Bacon, Andrew Cheng, Emily Clem, Ginny Dawson, Anna Jurgensen, Erik Maier, and Alice Shen.

Graduate Field Methods Course History

This page summarizes the history of graduate instruction in linguistic field methods at Berkeley, with information about academic year, language(s), consultant(s), and instructor(s), when known. The information has been reconstructed from archival course catalogs, which occasionally do not reflect the ultimate instructor of record, and in consultation with Linguistics faculty, graduate students, alumni, and records in the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. We will continue to update it as we learn more. 

Survey updates

February 10, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

Survey updates

February 2, 2021

Here's the latest from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Emily Drummond has added the first Zoom-based documentary materials in our holdings to her growing collection on Nukuoro (Polynesian-Outlier, Micronesia; see items 2019-14.129 and higher), video recordings of elicitation on grammatical topics and of work editing a phrasebook, and typed field notes.
  • Kenny Baclawski, Jr. (PhD 2019) has added some 70 new file bundles to his collection on Eastern Cham (Chamic, Vietnam; see items 2014-20.069 and higher), audio recordings and notes of grammatical and sociolinguistic elicitation conducted during fieldwork in Vietnam in 2016 and 2018.
  • We archived a new collection of sound recordings of Lulamogi (Bantu, Uganda), which derive from the fall 2013 undergraduate field methods course (Linguistics 140) taught by Larry Hyman, with language consultant Andrew Mukacha.