Fieldwork and Language Documentation

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. Links in the Language column are to archival collections in the California Language Archive (CLA). 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 CLA. We will...

Language Revitalization Working Group

The Language Revitalization Working Group offers a space to critically examine theories, methodologies, and applications of language revitalization in a variety of world contexts. Additionally, we provide a centralized venue for interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners of language revitalization to share, present, discuss, and improve their language revitalization efforts.

In Fall 2023, we will meet every other Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. (PST) in a hybrid format: if you're on campus you can join us in-person, and if you're not, you can join via Zoom. Additional/...

Group in American Indian Languages (GAIL)

The Group in American Indian Languages (GAIL) meets periodically in order to bring together individuals interested in Indigenous languages of the Americas for a potluck dinner and presentation. News about events can be found below, and a list of other past talks can be found here.

If you would like to receive periodic emails updating you about our activities, join the Friends of the Survey email list by writing to scoil-ling@berkeley.edu.

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CLA updates

October 26, 2023

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

We've accessioned a small new collection of audio and video recordings from Nicholas Evans's course "Grammar and Social Cognition" at the LSA Linguistic Institute held at Berkeley in 2009. With the assistance of Simeon Floyd, the class collaborated with three speakers of Imbabura Kichwa (Quechuan; Ecuador) -- Gladys, Augusto Oyagata, and Mariana Chuquín -- who collaborated as consultants with the graduate field methods class the following year. We've collaborated with the Mineral King Preservation Society and a team of cultural advisors in their curation of a new exhibit "Native Voices" at the Three Rivers Historical Museum in Three Rivers, California. The exhibit, which debuts Saturday, features an audiovisual panel, pictured here courtesy of Lisa Monteiro, with a recording of Cecile Silva speaking in Wukchumni (Yokutsan; California). The recording was made in 1973 by Geoffrey Gamble (PhD 1975).

Kavitskaya speaks at UChicago

October 26, 2023

Darya Kavitskaya gave two talks at UChicago this week: a colloquium on Oct 26th on "Functional factors in contrast preservation and loss: Evidence from Slavic” and a talk for Language Variation and Change group on Oct 27th on "Dialects of Crimean Tatar: Fieldwork and its challenges”.

CLA updates

October 19, 2023

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

Raksit Lau-Preechathammarach (PhD 2022) has accessioned a new collection of materials related to Kuy, Thro, and So Thavung (Austroasiatic), based on work with several dozen speakers in Thailand beginning in 2018. The materials consist mainly of audio recordings of elicitation of lexical items, conversations, and anonymized data from a production study consisting of target words embedded in a carrier sentence. Bernat Bardagil (postdoc 2018-2020) has accessioned a new collection of materials related to Mỹky (isolate; Brazil), based on work with 18 speakers beginning in 2022. (Materials from earlier in their project are archived with the Endangered Languages Archive.) The materials mainly consist of audio and video recordings of stories, songs, and elicitation. We've accessioned a new collection of materials related to the 2022-2023 Berkeley graduate field methods course on Lobi (Gur; Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire), with consultant Sansan Claude Hien and instructor Hannah Sande. Hannah Sande and Katherine Russell have added dozens of items to the Guébie Fieldwork Collection (see 2014-15.224 through 2014-15.257), based on remote and in-person work from March 2022 to the present with Abie Esmel Kokolou, Boris Azie, Gnakouri, Juliette Kadja Abalé, Olivier Agodio, and Serikpa Emil.

Jenks and Michael publish volume on language documentation and description

September 26, 2023

A new volume of papers on language documention edited by Berkeley linguistics faculty members Peter Jenks and Lev Michael includes a paper by ...

Survey updates

September 6, 2023

Zach O'Hagan sends the following report from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

Thanks to Anna Macknick, the CLA website now includes a FAQ page, with a video! The page includes information about using our digital catalog, about our holdings, and about access, among other topics. We've digitized 101 cassette tapes of Kwtsaan (Yuman) and added them to the Abraham M. Halpern Collection of Kwtsaan Sound Recordings (see items LA250.073-LA250.160). Made in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the tapes primarily feature speakers Howard Allen, Ignatius Cachora, Rosita Carr, Amelia Caster, Henry Collins, John Comet, Jessie Escalanti, Josepha Hartt, and Tom Kelly. To improve the usability of the collection, undergraduate volunteer Naomi Schroeter has added references to associated paper materials in the Margaret Langdon Papers. We've accessioned a new collection of sound recordings of Paipai (Yuman; Mexico), made in 1957 by Roger Owen, then a graduate student in anthropology at UCLA, with speaker Loreto González. We've accessioned a new collection of materials related to the 1993-1994 Berkeley graduate field methods course on Armenian (Indo-European), with consultant Aleks Göllü and instructor James Matisoff. Newly listenable in our Linguistics Lectures collection are William Bright's (PhD 1955) "Plant and Animal Names in Northwestern California" (1964) and Professor Emeritus William Wang's "Phonological Rules and Distinctive Features" (1965) and "Phonological Description and Speech Recognition" (1966). This collection consists mainly of departmental colloquia beginning in 1960, and is being digitized incrementally. We've accessioned a new collection of materials related to the 2021 UC San Diego graduate field methods course on Todos Santos Cuchumatán Mam (Mayan), with consultant Angela Ramirez and instructor Emily Clem (PhD 2019). We've accessioned a set of small collections of materials related to graduate field methods courses that Margaret Langdon (PhD 1966) taught at UCSD. Kumeyaay (1966), consultant Rosalie Robertson Kumeyaay (1967), consultant Rosalie Robertson with Fernando Kwaxa as guest Kumeyaay (1969), consultant Rosalie Robertson Paraguayan Guaraní (1972), consultant Marina dos Santos Iñupiaq (1973), consultant Edith Rowray Kwtsaan (1975), consultants Christine Emerson, Cynthia Wilson, and others unidentified Paraguayan Guaraní (1984), consultant Marina dos Santos Kumeyaay (1990), consultant Jane Dumas

O'Hagan on a research trip in South America

August 30, 2023
Zachary O'Hagan spent seven weeks in South America this summer, presenting on focus in Caquinte (Arawak; Peru) at AMAZONICAS IX in Bogotá and on 17th-century Omagua (Tupí-Guaraní; Peru) toponyms at SALSA XIV in Leticia, Colombia, followed by four weeks in Iquitos, Peru. There he worked with speakers of Urarina (isolate) and Taushiro (isolate), presented preliminary results from the California Language Archive's recent acquisition of Urarina legacy archival materials to Urarina school teachers (with Emanuele Fabiano, in nearby Nauta), was a panelist at the Apostolic Vicariate of Iquitos's second conversatorio "¿Qué Amazonía Queremos?" and rekindled relationships with school teachers and others at a meeting in San Joaquín de Omaguas for the revitalization of Omagua.

Ko files dissertation

August 16, 2023

Congratulations to Edwin Ko who recently filed his dissertation on "Studies in Crow Linguistics". He is beginning a position in Yale's Linguistics Department starting this month.