Fieldwork and Language Documentation

Survey updates

May 9, 2021

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

  • We have updated our Languages of California page(s), thanks to the efforts over the course of this semester of Allegra Robertson, who is finishing a semester as Graduate Student Researcher in the archive. In this role Allegra has been instrumental in cataloguing and making publicly available collections related to Kawaiisu (Uto-Aztecan; California), Kiliwa (Yuman; Baja California), Lulamogi (Bantu; Uganda), Sereer (Senegambian; Senegal, The Gambia), and Tswefap (Grassfields; Cameroon), and in preparing other forthcoming collections related to Abo (Bantu; Cameroon) and Totela (Bantu; Zambia, Namibia).
  • On Monday and Tuesday of this week, 10 boxes of papers related to Gerald Weiss's study of Ashaninka (Arawak; Peru, Brazil) language and culture arrived at the Survey, in addition to some 75 tape recordings spanning the early 1960s to 1980 brought back by Zachary O'Hagan from Boca Raton last week. In addition to field diaries and lexical file slips, the papers include everything from notes on cosmology to transcriptions of recordings to detailed identification of biological specimens, alongside some 5000 slides and photographs. Here is an example of the good quality of one of the tapes, a song sung by an Ashaninka woman named Rosa circa 1963.

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

April 25, 2021

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

  • Zachary O'Hagan is in Boca Raton, Florida (April 29-May 3) to inventory and retrieve portions of a large linguistic and ethnographic archival collection deriving from the fieldwork of anthropologist Gerald Weiss (1932-2021), who worked in Ashaninka (Arawak; Peru) communities beginning in 1961.
  • Uriel Weinreich's (1966) lecture Current Questions in Semantic Theory, delivered at Berkeley the year before his death, is now available as part of the ongoing digitization of the Linguistics Lecture collection. The collection consists of over 140 lectures given primarily as part of departmental colloquia between 1960 and 1985.
  • We released a new collection of materials on Sereer (Senegambian; Senegal, The Gambia), from the 2012-2013 graduate field methods course. The consultant was Malick Loum, the instructor was Peter Jenks, and students were Nico Baier, Kayla Begay, Oana David, Erin Donnelly, Matthew Faytak, Jevon Heath, Jack Merrill, Kelsey Neely, Melanie Redeye, and Vivian Wauters.
  • We released a new collection of materials on Shanenawa (Panoan; Brazil), from Prof. Gláucia Vieira Cândido's research with speakers Maria Iraci Brandão and Militão Brandão. Wesley dos Santos, who was Prof. Cândido's student at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, facilitated the delivery of tapes, slides, and negatives for digitization in 2019.

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. 

New online Iquito-English Dictionary

April 22, 2021

A new online Iquito-English Dictionary was recently published by Lev Michael, Christine Beier, Jaime Pacaya Inuma, Ema Llona Yareja, Hermenegildo Díaz Cuyasa, and Ligia Inuma Inuma in Dictionaria, an open access journal dedicated to disseminating digital dictionaries in CLLD format. This new dictionary is basically a digital version of the dictionary published by Abya-Yala press in 2019, with an expanded grammar sketch and corrections of minor errors.

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.