Nicholas Thieberger

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Fieldwork

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199571888
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics


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Linguists engaging in fieldwork have traditionally focused on a grammatical analysis of a language that may never before have been subjected to this kind of scrutiny. With increased awareness of the number of endangered languages, there has emerged a stronger emphasis on recording a range of material while in the field and also giving rise to language documentation as a distinct methodology within linguistics. This recognition of the loss of linguistic diversity has led to the support for the ongoing use of these languages including the production of records of as many different aspects of the language as possible. Linguists are in a position to record much more than narratives and example sentences. However, even they need guidance, once the topics of discussion go beyond everyday expertise. This book characterizes the new methods and tools associated with language documentation as forming a new paradigm of research. This paradigm focuses on collaboration with speakers and on the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge systems, of which language is one part. A further focus is laid on primary data as the warrant for analytical claims, and emphasizes replication of the analysis resulting in such claims. From this new paradigm, flows the need to create reusable primary data, and to provide for its accessibility and long-term cure.

Keywords: language documentation; replication; endangered language; grammatical analysis; linguistic diversity

Article.  4196 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics

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