Training Linguistics Students for the Realities of Fieldwork

Monica Macaulay

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Fieldwork

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Training Linguistics Students for the Realities of Fieldwork


This article uses examples from first fieldwork experience to illustrate the need for better training of graduate students in linguistics on the subject of fieldwork, especially in the personal and practical aspects. This very personal account also points out the need for the development of a better and more extensive literature on linguistic fieldwork, and makes suggestions about issues that should be covered in such a literature. The goal of this study is to make a very simple point: that we, as linguists, need to rethink our training of graduate students for fieldwork. While we generally do a very thorough job of teaching them how to elicit and analyse data, we often forget to tell them that there is a personal and practical side to fieldwork that can very well derail their research if they are not prepared for it. The article explains some of the experiments and observations undertaken by the scholar and the inferences drawn by her pertaining to training program.

Keywords: training; linguistic students; graduate students; teaching; training program

Article.  7335 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics

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