Chapter 1

§1.2: Another trope of the field: The linguist captures and tames an obscure grammatical object.

Some topics for class discussion:

    1. You’re going to the field for the first time: what do you take?
    2. You have a week to record as much of a language as possible — how do you proceed? Make a plan for what you would like to accomplish during your time.
    3. Imagine you are actually going to visit the country that your field methods class’s consultant is from. Find out as much as you can about the country and the language (s)he speaks.
    4. Do you think that linguists have a moral (or other type of) duty to work on undescribed language?
    5. Pick a random language from the Ethnologue that you don’t know anything about and spend 20 minutes online trying to find out what materials are available.

§1.6.2 Selected further reading (linguistic and anthropological fieldwork):

Further suggested reading (non-linguistic):

  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula Le Guin): Anthropology science fiction.
  • What am I doing here? (Bruce Chatwin): travel writing.
  • Balanda (My year in Arnhem Land) (Mary Ellen Jordan): Personal reiminiscences about the author’s year working in a remote community and the problems she has adjusting. [Note that this book is quite controversial and a lot of people, me included, don’t agree with Jordan’s point of view.]
  • First Fieldwork: the Misadventures of an Anthropologist (Barbara Gallatin Anderson): Confessional ethnography; fieldwork memories.
  • Stories I Stole (Wendell Steavenson): Travel in Georgia written by a journalist.
  • Red Earth, White Lies (Vine Deloria)
  • Mischa Berlinski’s book Fieldwork is a fictional mystery that has an anthropologist/linguist as one of its main characters. It’s also an interesting read for those who work in areas with a strong missionary presence.
  • Ryan’s books he’d take to the field [anthropology] – via Savage Minds.
  • Susanna Kayson’s Far Afield: more fictional ethnography.