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This subject instructs students on how to analyse an unknown language, working with a native speaker, as a class team. You will learn the main techniques for conducting such an analysis, ranging from phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, applying them in consultation sessions with an actual speaker. These skills, taught through detailed work on the language chosen, generalise to those needed to analyse any unknown language on its own terms. Ethical issues, field research techniques, goals of linguistic documentation, and relevant software and Internet support, will also be covered through special workshops held during the semester. A different language is chosen each year: languages studied in the past have included Khmer, Vietnamese, Bugis (Sulawesi, Indonesia), Sasak (Lombok, Indonesia), Lau (Solomon Islands), Bisayan (Philippines), Acehnese (Aceh, Indonesia), Golin (PNG) and Ganalbingu (Australia).
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should:
- have learnt the main techniques for analysing an unknown language on its own terms, from primary data;
- be acquainted with relevant software packages to support fieldwork research;
- be familiar with practical, personal and ethical issues of linguistic fieldwork.
At the completion of this subject, students should:
- have developed their research ability by working out the logic and structure of unknown systems;
- have developed an understanding of social, ethical and cultural contexts through working with language speakers from quite different cultural backgrounds;
- have developed their teamwork abilities through working with other researchers.
Last updated: 3 November 2022