Working alongside remote speech communities to document languages
For many CoEDL researchers engaged in the documentation and description of language, linguistics fieldwork was an essential aspect of their work. About half of the world’s 7,000 languages are un- or under-documented, and many of these languages are spoken by small speech communities in remote areas. Fieldwork sees linguists travel to and work with these communities to record their languages.
Fieldwork facilitates many different types of linguistic work, from corpus building to acquisition and processing studies, to compiling reference grammars and dictionaries — of which CoEDL researchers produced 19 and 13, respectively — to the repatriation and preservation of language materials and more.
The stories shared below give a taste of the rich experiences that CoEDL members gained through their fieldwork. Their reflections reveal the centrality of community collaboration to CoEDL’s research practice and the dedication required by both the community and the researcher to conduct this work through difficult circumstances in the name of preserving and documenting some of the world’s least understood and most endangered languages.
 Gregor, Tina. Submitted. Suppletion in languages of New Guinea. To appear in: Nicholas Evans Sebastian Fedden (eds.), The Oxford Guide to the Papuan Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gallego, Maria Kristina. 2020. "Ibatan of Babuyan Claro (Philippines) – Language Contexts." Language Documentation and Description. 17: 87-110.
Gallego, Maria Kristina. 29 Jan 2021: Public lecture at Polytechnic University of the Philippines on COVID-19 and language, part of an online forum entitled ‘#SupportLocal: Amplifying the Philippine languages through new media’
Gallego, Maria Kristina. 29 Aug 2020: Language Warriors PH talk, part of the ‘Language issues amidst a global health crisis: Insights and experiences on the ground’ forum by the University of the Philippines Diliman
Gregor, Tina. 2021. A documentation and description of Yelmek. Doctoral dissertation. The Australian National University, Canberra. https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/220032
Gregor, Tina. 2021. A phonetic description of Yelmek. Language Documentation & Conservation Special Issues on phonologies of southern New Guinea.
Gray, James and Gregor, Tina. 2019. Gender/number syncretism in Yelmek verbal suppletion. Proceedings of the 12th Generative Linguistics in the Old World & the 21st Seoul International Conference on Generative Grammar, pp. 111-125.
Moodie, Jonathan, and Rosey Billington. A Grammar of Lopit: An Eastern Nilotic Language of South Sudan. Brill, 2020,https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004430679