Urituyacu River, Loreto, Peru

Fieldwork Forum (FForum)

Department of Linguistics
University of California, Berkeley

When?Thursdays 2pm - 3:30pm
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 Alison Zerbe and Hannah Sande . We welcome all those interested in linguistic fieldwork, with all levels of experience, including those in other departments.

Spring 2015

Jan 29Herman Leung (UC Berkeley)
Wiyot Language Database: Building an online searchable corpus from scratch
In this talk, I present an overview of the technical processes involved in an ongoing project to build an online searchable corpus of the Wiyot language. The project began in Fall 2014 and an early version of the web interface is in place, with access to 20 narratives/500 sentences, 300 audio files, and 900 unique lexical items. I will show how -- with the help of bulk text processing (via Python programming) -- we semi-automated the processes of digitizing the data, extracting unique lexical items, and populating the database, with a glimpse into how the database is connected to the web interface. I will also briefly present the MySQL database structure used in this project and its pros/cons (vs. XML, commonly employed in linguistic databases such as FLEx).

Feb 5Peter Jenks (UC Berkeley)

Feb 12Jenneke van der Wal (University of Cambridge)
How to elicit information structure in fieldwork? An illustration from focus strategies in Luganda.
Over the last decades it has become clear that information structure (old/new information, what is highlighted) has to be taken into account in describing and analysing natural languages. However, it can be very difficult to discover the linguistic strategies for expressing topic and focus when doing fieldwork. In this talk I provide a number of elicitation tests that have been used to diagnose various types of focus (replacive, exhaustive etc.) and illustrate these with data from Luganda. This Bantu language has two strategies that at first sight seem to encode the same type of focus. With the help of the elicitation tests they can nevertheless be shown to differ: the cleft construction is identificational whereas omitting an initial vowel on a noun expresses exclusive focus.

Feb 19Lev Michael (UC Berkeley)

Feb 26Benjamin Martin (Kamusi Projet)

Mar 5TBA

Mar 12Discussion: Field equipment

Mar 19Michael Dierks (Pomona College)

Mar 26No Meeting: Spring Break

Apr 2Joel Dunham (UBC)

Apr 9Florian Lionnet

Apr 16Yoram Meroz

Apr 23Christine Beier (Cabeceras Project)

Apr 30Discussion: Heading to the field

Jan 22No regular meeting