Fieldwork and Language Documentation

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.

The phonology of Guébie

Hannah Sande

Guébie is an Eastern Kru language spoken by about 7000 people in the Gagnoa prefecture of Côte d’Ivoire. This paper provides an overview of the phonology of Guébie, including the complex tone system with four contrastive pitch heights, multiple types of vowel harmony, reduplication in multiple morphosyntactic contexts, CVCV/CCV alternations, and the phonotactic behaviour of implosives as sonorant-like rather than obstruent-like. Comparisons with other Kru and West African languages are made along the way.

CLA updates

August 14, 2022

Here's the latest from the California Language Archive:

In late May we received a very generous grant of $500,000 from the Arcadia Fund! Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, "supports work to preserve endangered cultural heritage, protect endangered ecosystems, and promote access to knowledge." This grant will provide needed support for our operations over a five-year period, including support to bring Indigenous community researchers to the Berkeley campus for visits to our archive. For the first time since 2019, we co-hosted in-person the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous California Languages, organized by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS). From May 22-28, 15 faculty members, graduate students, and alumni volunteered as linguistic partners supporting Indigenous Californians working with some 25 languages. We published Report 20 of the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, Mutsun Text Collection: mutsun riicakma hummen. It's a monumental 7,175-page philological work by Natasha Warner (PhD 1998), Lynnika Butler, Heather Van Volkinburg, and Quirina Geary, "24 years after starting it as an Excel spreadsheet," as Natasha puts it, based on relationships that formed at Breath of Life in the 1990s. We accessioned the following new archival collections, most documenting the history of field methods instruction in the department: Materials for Mutsun Text Collection (2022-11), archival materials associated with Warner et al. (2022). Limba Field Materials (2022-06), from Nik Rolle's (PhD 2018) work with speaker Kondeh Mansaray and others in Sierra Leone in April and May. Berkeley Undergraduate Field Methods: Lobi (2021-33), from Hannah Sande's spring 2022 course with speaker Sansan Claude Hien. Berkeley Field Methods: Garifuna (2021-25), from Lev Michael's 2021-2022 course with speaker Frank Palacio. Berkeley Field Methods: Abo (2021-10), from Larry Hyman's 2010-2011 course with speaker Achille Massoma. Berkeley Undergraduate Field Methods: Dafing (2021-24), from Peter Jenks's spring 2016 course with speaker Rassidatou Konate. Berkeley Field Methods: Irish (2021-31), from Jim Matisoff's 1991-1992 course with speaker Joan Keefe. We added materials to the following extant archival collections: Guébie Fieldwork Collection (2014-15): sound recordings of elicitation and texts, field notes, and typed transcripts from Hannah Sande and Katie Russell's nearly 80 (mostly remote) work sessions 2020-2022 (see 2014-15.145 through 2014-15.223). Archiving was aided by Julianne Kapner. Nukuoro Field Materials (2019-24): videos and typed notes from grammatical elicitation conducted on Zoom in 2021 with speakers Mina Lekka and Johnny Rudolph (see 2019-24.157 through 2019-24.187). Documentary Materials on Chamikuro (2019-31): new and updated Praat TextGrids for previously archived sound recordings (see 2019-31.043).

Bleaman receives NSF CAREER Award

August 16, 2022

Congratulations to Isaac Bleaman, who has received a 5-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation! His project is entitled "Documenting and Analyzing Sociolinguistic Variation in the Speech of Holocaust Survivors," and it will involve developing a large corpus of conversational Yiddish for language research and community engagement. The project was described in a recent announcement to LSA members and publicized in the Forward (first in Yiddish and then in English translation).

FForum 2020-2021

Fall 2020 Schedule 2020.09.02 Welcome back!

Join us via Zoom for the first FForum meeting of the semester, where we will catch up on summer developments. All are welcome!

2020.09.09 Christine Beier and Lev Michael (UC Berkeley)

Mobile tonal melodies in Iquito: analysis, elicitation, and texts

This talk focuses on the analysis of mobile tonal melodies in Iquito and methodological issues that we faced in developing this analysis. Iquito mobile melodies are tonal melodies whose position is affected by the presence of...

Hannah Sande

Assistant Professor of Linguistics

PhD, UC Berkeley

Phonology, morphology, and their interface; prosody; language documentation and description; African languages, especially languages of Côte d'Ivoire

Lev Michael

Professor of Linguistics

PhD, UT Austin

Anthropological linguistics, typology, documentation and description of Amazonian languages, South American historical and contact linguistics, language revitalization