Resources for Linguistic Fieldwork

The following listings are resources to help fund and facilitate linguistics fieldwork.



  • SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx): A new standard tool for creating a user-friendly database of data collected during fieldwork.
  • ELAN: A powerful tool developed by MPI to do multi-tiered transcription.; Click here for an Elan tutorial written by Kelsey Neely and here for a useful Elan template.
  • SIL Toolbox: Another transcription tool in wide use.
  • SIL Software Catalog: A long list of software developed by and/or recommended by the SIL for linguistic fieldwork.
  • Audacity: A very versatile general audio tool.
  • Praat: An extensible suite of tools to do acoustic analysis. Praat can produce spectrograms, pitch traces, and can be used with scripts, among other functions.
  • WaveSurfer: An alternative to Praat for acoustic analysis. Is also able to produce spectrograms, pitch traces, and other useful data.
  • TypeCraft: From its website: "TypeCraft is an Interlinear Glossing Editor; the user adds linguistic annotation to written material which is stored in a relational database from where it can be retrieved using multiple views."
  • LaTeX for Linguists: Useful resources for using LaTeX typesetting to produce publications and other materials derived from linguistic fieldwork.

How To Actually Do Linguistic Fieldwork

  • From Stanford: Advice For Undertaking Fieldwork: This is a general guide to all aspects of fieldwork, including logistics, elicitation techniques, recording, ethical issues to be aware of, grammar and dictionary writing, etc. This is a good place to start with a lot of helpful information and links.
  • Language & Cognition Field Manuals and Stimulus Materials: "This site contains a bonanza of material for the field elicitation of semantics and and the field collection of verbal behavior. These are unique resources that have been compiled over nearly twenty years of investigation of under-studied languages by the Language and Cognition group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics."
  • E-MELD: Guide to best practices in how to collect and store language data, materials, and metadata. This resource is invaluable for making sure your work will last and continue to be useful.
  • Endangered Languages Alliance: Resources for and details about conducting fieldwork on endangered languages with immigrants to New York City. Offers Swadesh lists in other contact languages for use with consultants as well as flyers to post for finding consultants.

Language Databases