Urituyacu River, Loreto, Peru
Fieldwork Forum (FForum)
Department of Linguistics
|When?||Wednesdays 10am - 11am|
|Where?||1303 Dwinelle Hall|
|What?||We are a working group dedicated to the critical examination of methodologies in language documentation, description and revitalization, as well as to the linguistic and ethnohistorical analysis that falls out from that work. Our aim is to learn from and ultimately improve upon methods for carrying out more rigorous, insightful and ethical linguistic and cultural fieldwork, and to help researchers implement those methods.|
|How?||Fieldwork Forum is made possible through a Working Group Grant provided by the Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley.|
|Who?||FForum is organized by Erin Donnelly and Zachary O'Hagan. We welcome all those interested in linguistic fieldwork, with all levels of experience, including those in other departments.|
|Sep 4||Matthew Faytak (UC Berkeley)|
|Infixing Reduplication in Nez Perce|
Nez Perce (ISO 639-3: nez) is a Sahaptian language spoken in the US states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. It makes extensive use of several reduplicative processes to encode plurality (of nouns) and distributedness (of attributes); most of these processes are prefixing and tend towards taking the entire stem or first syllable as a base.
Based on data from recent fieldwork with elder speakers in Lapwai, ID, I offer a tentative account for two additional infixing reduplication processes in Nez Perce, both restricted in operation to a class of deverbal or deadjectival adverb-like lexemes with shape CVCVC. The first doubles the word-medial C and encodes emphasis. The second, which doubles the first available VC sequence and inserts the copy immediately after the initial C, encodes gradual or stepwise completion of an action.
After an overview of the data, I hope to discuss how the two infixation processes relate to other reduplication processes in Nez Perce, theories of infixation more generally, and documenting expressive modes of speech.
|Sep 11||NO MEETING|
|Sep 18||Christine Beier (Cabeceras Aid Project) and Marine Vuillermet (UC Berkeley)|
|Movie-making as Fieldwork (Part 2)|
Endangered language documentation fieldwork can be done with many outcomes, and varied audiences, in mind. In projects that include language revalorization and revitalization among their goals, short movies *in* the endangered language are one novel way to engage the attention of the heritage language population, especially the younger people, by using a modern and prestigious medium to showcase both the language itself and culturally salient activities closely associated with it. These movies can simultaneously fulfill the goals of documenting the language itself, documenting its use, stimulating interest in its survival, and ‘giving back’ to the community in the form of a durable and useful resource. This joint presentation will begin with a brief introduction by Marine and Chris to the fieldwork contexts in which they made their recent movies. Thereafter, the two movies will be shown. In the remaining fifteen minutes, we will focus our discussion on the utility of movies like these for their communities, in the context of linguistic as well as cultural revalorization.
A brief description of each movie is provided below.
(1) “Yájé néèyì: Preparing ayahuasca” (16 min)
During the 2013 field season of the Máíj
Nearly all of the work to make this movie was done while in Nueva Vida, the Máíjùnà community that is our primary research site in Peruvian Amazonia. The movie is narrated entirely in Máíj
(2) “Ese'ejaa estera sipikani: Los ese ejja tejen estera” (12 min)
The Ese'eja people are about 1,700 people dispersed over 9 communities in Peru and Bolivia, along the Madre de Dios and Beni rivers and their tributaries. The language vitality of Ese'eja varies from very vital (especially in Bolivia) to moribund (in one Peruvian community).
The idea of making a movie with the Ese'eja people came from Christine Beier and Lev Michael's 2012 movie in Máíj
Prior to summer 2013, I had only worked with the Ese'ejas who live in Bolivia. This movie was not only an excellent tool for documenting and valorizing one of the Bolivian Ese'ejas' (endangered) cultural practices (since most younger women no longer weave), but it also was warmly received by the Peruvian Ese'eja community for various reasons. First, they are right now in the process of implementing their alphabet and producing written materials, so they were able to see how their alphabet could be used in the future. Second, despite the many Ese'eja intermarriages between Bolivia and Peru, most Peruvian Ese'ejas did not know about these woven mats, because the plant used does not grow in Peru. Thus, our movies may help enrich communication and mutual understanding between the very scattered Ese'eja communities.
To watch the movie in advance (subtitled in Ese'eja and Spanish), go to: http://vimeo.com/70358266.
|Sep 25||Nico Baier (UC Berkeley)|
|Wh-question Formation in Sereer-Saloum|
This presentation describes wh-question formation in Sereer-Saloum, a Senegambian language of Senegal. Specifically, I compare strategies for forming wh-questions in main clauses and out of embedded clauses. For main clauses, Sereer allows both wh-in-situ and fronting of the wh-word to a focus position. When the interrogative originates in an embedded clause, wh-in-situ is impossible; only the wh-fronting is available. In this later case, there is an intricate pattern combining optional resumption and focus morphology in embedded clauses. It also appears that a wh-copying strategy is possible, where a copy of the interrogative appears at the left edge of both the matrix and embedded clause.
|Dorian (1978); Cook (1989)|
|Oct 16||Kelsey Neely (UC Berkeley)|
|Untangling the Yaminawa dialect complex: The challenges and rewards of a multidialectal fieldsite|
This talk reports on recent fieldwork in a highly multidialectal (and multilingual) community of Yaminawa, Nahua, and Sharanahua (Panoan, Mainline) speakers in Sepahua, Peru, and presents preliminary lexical, phonological, and sociolinguistic data that clarify the internal classification of this dialect complex. While Nahua exhibits the greatest degree of lexical divergence from the other dialects studied, Sharanahua is clearly more phonologically divergent. Interviews with older speakers are also consistent with the hypothesis that the Sharanahua may have moved to live along major rivers at an earlier point while the Nahua and Yaminawa remained in the headwaters.
Fieldwork in any multidialectal community presents many challenges to the researcher: determining the degree of multidialectalism in the community, sorting out the complex web of attitudes that speakers have toward the dialects involved, and making sense of data that involves dialect mixing. Work on the Yaminawa dialect complex proved particularly challenging because the degree and nature of multidialectalism across speakers is highly varied. However, fieldwork in a single multidialectal community made it possible to collect comparative data and detailed sociolinguistic interviews more efficiently and accurately than would otherwise have been possible.
|Oct 23||Darya Kavitskaya (UC Berkeley)|
|The Problems in the Documentation of the Northern Dialect of Crimean Tatar|
Crimean Tatar is a West Kipchak language of the Northwestern branch of Turkic. Until the middle of the 20th century, Crimean Tatar could be clearly divided into three distinct dialects, Northern, Central, and Southern. However, in 1944, the entire Crimean Tatar population of Crimea was deported to Central Asia (mainly to Uzbekistan, but also to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan), and to several locations in Russia. As a result, speakers of the three originally homogenous Crimean Tatar dialects were separated, mixed, and immersed into radically different linguistic environments. In the early 1990s, the Crimean Tatars were allowed to return to their homeland, but most of them were not able to resettle in their ancestral villages. This situation along with years of exile, contributed to a significant dialect mixture. Also, among the dialects, the Central dialect (with some elements of the Northern) was chosen as the basis for the literary Crimean Tatar. The other two dialects are not learned by the children any more and may disappear within a generation. In this talk, I will discuss issues that present problems for my fieldwork on the endangered Northern dialect, given the situation just described.
|Oct 30||John Haviland (UC San Diego)|
|Different Strokes: Gesture Phrases in Z, a First Generation Family Homesign|
In order not to prejudge the constituents and categories of Z, an emerging sign language isolate in a single extended family including three deaf siblings in highland Chiapas, Mexico, where the surrounding spoken language is Tzotzil (Mayan), I try to apply in rigorous formal fashion a model of phrase structure derived from studies of "speaker's gestures" that accompany spoken language. I try to evaluate the virtues and potential vices of such a methodologically austere approach as applied to spontaneous, natural conversation in Z.
|Nov 6||Ryan Bochnak (UC Berkeley) -- joint work with Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (UMass Amherst)|
|Investigating Gradable Predicates, Comparison, and Degree Constructions in Underrepresented Languages|
In this talk, we present some methods for investigating the semantics of gradability and comparison in the field. Probably the biggest challenge facing the fieldworker investigating comparison and gradability is the fact that the meaning of gradable predicates like ‘tall’ is highly context-dependent. A further complication is the fact that gradable predicates do not form a uniform class. Variables such as scale structure, ordering polarity, and dimensionality have important consequences for entailment patterns, the distribution of modifiers, among other things. The discussion in this talk is based on our own experiences investigating these issues in Washo and Navajo. Using case studies from these two languages, we propose methodologies for obtaining data on key semantic distinctions. We suggest that the use of visual stimuli can help obviate some of the problems posed by the inherent context-sensitivity of gradable predicates, while certain non-visual techniques may also be useful for certain non-dimensional predicates like ‘pretty’.
|Nov 13||Andrew Garrett, Clare Sandy, Erik Maier, Line Mikkelsen (UC Berkeley); Patrick Davidson|
|Developing the Karuk Treebank|
As part of our engagement with the Karuk language and language community of northern California, we are developing a large syntactically-annotated corpus of the language. In this talk we discuss the motivation, goals, analytic decisions, implementation, and challenges of this project.
|Nov 20||Marine Vuillermet (UC Berkeley)|
|A Hunting Story: An Amazonian Visual Stimulus for Eliciting Associated Motion...and Much More!|
This presentation examines the outcomes of my FYSSEN postdoctoral research project on associated motion. After a brief overview of the definition of associated motion as a category, I will present the stimulus kit used earlier this year, a wordless story book and a protocol. I will then discuss the data collected this summer employing the stimulus with fourteen consultants, and consider the results in light of several variants: age of the consultant, language vitality in his/her community, and type of instruction given. I will finally comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the stimulus and include the feedback of five more fieldworkers (four Amazonianists and one Oceanicist) who also used the stimulus this summer.
|Nov 27||NO MEETING|
|Dec 4||Greg Wong (Livescribe)|