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...

CLA updates

November 13, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

In the last month, we've hosted three visits by Indigenous researchers: Richenda Ervin and Jonathan Geary (Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians), who visited twice (photo here); and Anthony Macias, Jessica Chaves, and Kim Carver (Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of Stewarts Point Rancheria; photo here). We've accessioned a new collection of materials related to the 1974-1975 Berkeley graduate field methods course on Lakota (Siouan; US), with primary consultant Ruby (LaPointe) Swift Bird (1927-2004) and Eva (Martin) Brown (1909-1996), both Oglala women from Pine Ridge (South Dakota), and instructor Wallace Chafe (1927-2019). The materials -- donated by Kenneth Whistler (PhD 1980), a student in the class -- include extensive in-class and secondary notes, compiled term papers, and lexical file slips. This course had a strong impact on other enrolled students, such as Robert Van Valin, whose dissertation became Aspects of Lakhota Syntax (PhD 1977). Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for other kinds of updates!

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.

In Fall 2022, we will meet (roughly) every other week, on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. 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/alternative...

CLA updates

October 9, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

Larry Hyman and Mwambi Mbûûi (Graduate Theological Union) have archived a new collection of materials related to their ongoing collaborative study of Tiania (Bantu; Kenya). The materials are notable for including drafts of several descriptive pieces co-authored by Prof. Hyman and Mr. Mbûûi in the early months of the project (some already published), alongside recordings of sessions conducted on Zoom, typed notes, and database files. Their collaboration began in the fall 2021 Berkeley undergraduate field methods course, which also included Cynthia Zhong (BA 2022), some of whose notes and recordings are also included here. Madeline Bossi has added 34 new file bundles to her archival collection Kalenjin Field Materials (see items 2019-26.153 through 2019-26.187). The audio recordings of elicitation sessions and texts cover the period from April through August of this year, including in-situ fieldwork in Kenya in June. Speakers represented in the new items are Lydia Chebet Bett, Sharon Chemtai, Ezra Cheruiyot, Linus Kipkoech, Chepkemoi Ronoh, and Kiplangat Yegon.

Siouan Languages Working Group (SLWG)

When? Saturdays 10:00AM-11:30AM (Pacific time)

Where? Spring 2022 via Zoom

What? We are a cross-institutional working group dedicated to the exploration of the cultures and linguistic complexities of the Siouan languages, such as Crow, Hidatsa, Quapaw, Lakota, and Tutelo-Saponi. We focus on anthropological and linguistic literature (generally one reading per week), and we give particular emphasis to comparative and diachronic analyses of Siouan grammar. We also serve as a workshop space to assist with new analyses of languages in the...

CLA updates

September 12, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

Allegra Robertson has archived a new collection of materials related to her first summer of fieldwork with speakers of Yánesha' (Arawak; Peru) in June and July of this year. Many speakers are represented, in sound recordings of traditional stories, explanatory texts, grammatical and lexical elicitation, and transcription sessions, together with scanned field notes and photographs.

Andrew Garrett

Professor of Linguistics, Nadine M. Tang and Bruce L. Smith Professor of Cross-Cultural Social Sciences

PhD, Harvard

Historical linguistics; Indo-European; Karuk, Yurok, and California Indian languages; language documentation and revitalization

CLA updates

August 29, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

Jack Merrill (PhD 2018) has archived a new collection of materials related to Sereer (Senegambian; Senegal, The Gambia). The materials are audio recordings of elicitation sessions, and a FLEx database with over 5,000 lexical entries and scores of texts! The work is primarily in collaboration with speakers Maryama Diouf and Malick Loum, and Nico Baier (PhD 2018). It began in Berkeley in 2013 (Loum, Merrill, Baier), following the 2012-2013 field methods course for which Mr. Loum was the consultant; it continued in Senegal in 2015 (Diouf, Merrill). The FLEx database is a continuation of the one developed by class participants.