Linguistic Field Methods

Subject 175-418 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 25.00
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Four hours per week
Total Time Commitment: 5 contact hours/week , 10 additional hours/week. Total of 15 hours per week.
Prerequisites: 175-015 Syntax and 175-014 Phonetics or equivalents.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Rachel Nordlinger


Dr Rachel Nordlinger
Subject Overview: This subject instructs students on how to analyse an unknown language, working from scratch 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).
  • 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.#
Assessment: A preliminary analysis of the language of 2000 words 20% (due mid-semester), a 2000-word inter-linearised text transcription with commentary 20% (due in the later part of the semester), and a 4000-word analysis of a selected area of the language's grammar 40% (due at the end of the semester), and team contribution to the running of the research project such as maintaining the communal corpus, creating a web site illustrating key aspects of the research, maintaining the lexical database, or other tasks facilitating the research by the whole group, equivalent to 2000 words 20% (ongoing through the semester).
Prescribed Texts: A subject manual of articles dealing with specific issues of fieldwork (both linguistic, and anthropological fieldwork more generally) and documentary linguistics will be made available. According to the language selected for study, a series of orienting articles and/or books on related languages will be placed on reserve.
  • Linguistic Field Work (P Newman & M Ratliff) CUP
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop their research ability by working out the logic and structure of unknown systems;
  • develop an understanding of social, ethical and cultural contexts through working with language speakers from quite different cultural backgrounds;
  • develop their teamwork abilities through working with other researchers.
Notes: Formerly available as 175-034/318/418. Students who have completed 175-034 or 175-318/418 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Linguistics && Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

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