Field Methods


Fall 2003

T 4R4-5††† CBD 316

Dr. MJ Hardman

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The basic skill of any linguist is to discover structure in language. In this course you will learn how to do that by discovering structure in a language you do not know, starting only with paper and pencil, listening to and interacting with a native speaker of that language. You will learn how to construct questions that leave the answer open. You will learn how to avoid predetermining answers. You will learn how to avoid distorting data. You will learn how to make preliminary analyses, and then how to test those analyses, and then how to make new and different analyses. Then you will learn how to write up your early discoveries so that the material is available to other scholars. In all of this you will learn, in detail, how good ethics and good science mutually imply each other, that your science is a human science, human beings learning together with other human beings.

TEXTBOOK: (Texts available at Wild Iris Bookstore)

Hardman, MJ and Hamano, Syoko Saito. Language Structure Discovery Methods. Andean Press: Gainesville, FL. 4th edition. 1995.



Bohannan, Laura. Hamlet and the Tiv. Available at:


Bohannan, Laura. Return to Laughter. Doubleday: Garden City, NY. 1964.



Scratch paper for in class transcription, drills, and drills with classmates
Yellow legal pad for initial consultant elicitation
Flash slips of scrap paper for initial memorizing of each session
Permanent file book ó sewn, not spiral
Box(es) for playfile
3x5 slips (several thousand)
3x5 cards (hundred or so)
Variable index tabs in as many colors as possibleó the kind that can be cut into varying lengths
Minimum of 3 writing colors (black, green, red recommended)
If you have access to a Macintosh and the Filemaker program (University of Florida has it), then I can supply you with the layouts necessary to do some of the filing on the computer. We may also attempt to use the Shoebox program, now available for both Macintosh & IBM. Computer use is optional.



Problems will be assigned out of the book.
Primary focus will be on the discovery of the structure of a language of our choosing.
Papers: Two papers, one a phonemic statement, due in approximately 6 weeks; one a grammatical statement due the first day of test week.




Final meeting to discuss paper with consultant (TEST WEEK)



Course Summaries

Fall 2002

Fall 2000