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. 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

May 20, 2020

Updates from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages:

  • Teresa McFarland (PhD 2009) has archived a new collection of field notes, sound recordings, and photographs related to Filomeno Mata Totonac (Totonac-Tepehuan; Veracruz, Mexico), from dissertation fieldwork spanning 2003 to 2009, with additional interviews done by Berkeley undergrads in 2015. We digitized 95 minidiscs (about 135GB), which document a rich research project on many aspects of phonology and morphosyntax, alongside many texts. Each file bundle represents a day, and includes page number references to the field notes and indications of transcriptions of texts.

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.

Robertson and Rybka published in Cadernos de Etnolingüística

April 9, 2020

Congratulations to Allegra Robertson and recent post-doc Konrad Rybka
, whose article "A grammatical description of Warao imperatives: Formal brevity and morphological complexity" was published this week in Cadernos de Etnolingüística. Read it here!

Survey receives "Documenting Endangered Languages" grant

April 7, 2020

The National Endowment for the Humanities, through its "Documenting Endangered Languages" grant program (in collaboration with the National Science Foundation), announced today that it will fund a project to be administered by the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages (PI Andrew Garrett, $332,762): "Archiving legacy documentation from southern California and the southwest: Toward a new collaborative model."

This two-year project will catalog, digitize, and describe sound recordings and paper materials assembled over many years by Berkeley professor emerita Leanne Hinton, Margaret Langdon (Berkeley PhD 1966), Frank Lobo, and Pamela Munro, making them accessible where appropriate in the California Language Archive. A key element of the project is collaboration with several Indigenous communities to create a model of co-curation and community-based description of materials we catalog. The grant will support a full-time postdoctoral position in the department to coordinate and supervise all the work.

Survey updates

April 6, 2020

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

  • Augmenting our activities with work that can be done from home, we've digitized 120 color slides from Harvey Carlson's 1984 fieldwork on Aikanã (isolate; Brazil). We also redigitized over 100 prints scanned at higher resolution. Carlson (d. 1994) received a BA from our department and also worked for many years in the Berkeley Language Center, whose recording studio is named in his honor. He was inspired to do fieldwork in Rondônia after taking a seminar titled Indian Languages of South America from visiting professor Aryon Rodrigues in the winter 1983 quarter.

Survey updates

March 23, 2020

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

  • Christine Sheil (PhD 2016) archived a new collection of sound recordings of 18 elicitation sessions on Scottish Gaelic (Indo-European; Scotland), stemming from her dissertation fieldwork there in 2013 and 2014.
  • Wilson de Lima Silva (Arizona) archived a new collection on Ticuna (isolate; Brazil, Colombia, Peru), based on fieldwork in the Cidade de Deus neighborhood of Manaus, Brazil during his MA research at the University of Utah in 2004. There are sound recordings of elicitation, reading, and texts, as well as derivative materials like MA coursework and previously published booklets.
  • We archived a new collection of sound recordings and written materials related to Chungli Ao (Ao; India), which derive from the 2008-2009 graduate field methods course (Linguistics 240) co-taught by Alice Gaby and Lev Michael, with language consultant Moa Imchen. The students in the course were Alex Bratkievich, Daniel Bruhn (PhD 2014), Ramón Escamilla (PhD 2012), Lindsey Newbold, Hannah Pritchett, Marilola Pérez (PhD 2015), and Russell Rhodes. Prof. Gaby is now at Monash University in Melbourne. We're grateful to undergraduate student Ellis Miller, who's working as an LRAP apprentice in the Survey this semester, for making the content descriptions for the items in this collection.
  • Steve Parker (Dallas International University & SIL International) archived a new collection of field notes and sound recordings of Panobo/Huariapano (Panoan; Peru). Dating from 1991, these are the only known sound recordings of Panobo in existence, the language being thought to have no more first-language speakers. The consultant was Arquímedes Sinuiri Nunta.

Iquito-English Dictionary published

March 30, 2020

An Iquito-English Dictionary was recently published by Ediciones Abya Yala and Cabeceras Aid Project, compiled by Lev Michael and Christine Beier on the basis of the linguistic and cultural knowledge of Jaime Pacaya Inuma, Ema Llona Yareja, Hermenegildo Díaz Cuyasa, and Ligia Inuma Inuma. Ronald Sprouse played a key role in preparing the dictionary manuscript by further developing a script originally created by Berkeley grad Greg Finley to generate a LaTeX file from the FLEx XML database file. A blurb is available on the Calques site.