Ep 19: Dreamtime Narratives & Language Sustainability with Dorothea Hoffmann

Today’s episode is with Dr. Dorothea Hoffmann, a documentary linguist who has worked in remote parts of Northern Australia with speakers of MalakMalak, Jaminjung and Kriol. In North America, She has been involved in language revitalization projects for the AcomaUteStoney NakodaHo-Chunk and Cowlitz tribes, and First Nations. She is affiliated with the University of Oregon as an Honorary Research Associate and also works as a Linguistic Project Manager for The Language Conservancy. In addition to her linguistic research, Dorothea also is one half of the team that runs a venture called 180forward – an eco-tourism and education business based in New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.

In this episode, we discuss how as researchers we should be striving not only to help sustain the languages we work with but to go further and aim for regeneration and to help empower and create new speakers. Doro also explains a bit about Dreamtime narratives in MalakMalak, which are traditional creation stories which, among other things, connect speakers to not only their language but also the land.

With members of the Malak Malak community at the Puliima Conference in Darwin, NT in August 2019. Everyone is excited about the new Malak Malak Vocab Builder app!

Things mentioned in this episode:

Dorothea with Stoney Nakoda Elders Virginia Wesley and Henry Holloway during a dictionary workshop in Cochrane, Alberta in February 2020

Ep 18: Documenting Linguistic Avoidance in Datooga with Alice Mitchell

This week’s episode is with Alice Mitchell, a Junior Professor at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Cologne in Germany. Alice holds a bachelor’s degree in German and Linguistics from the University of Oxford, an MA in Language Documentation and Description from SOAS, and a PhD in Linguistics from the University at Buffalo. Prior to starting her current position in Cologne, Alice spent one year as a Humboldt Fellow in the African Studies department at the University of Hamburg, and three years as a postdoc in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on the Datooga language of Tanzania, where she has been conducting fieldwork since 2012. 

In this episode, Alice talks us through her research in Tanzania, and her experiences documenting name avoidance and studying children’s speech in Datooga.

Alice records Manang’i, an eleven-year-old Datooga speaker, while she herds calves and goats near her house in Manyara Region, Tanzania

Things mentioned in this episode:

View from Alice’s tent one morning in Eshkesh, Tanzania

Ep 17: Mary Walworth on Fieldwork with a Baby

Today’s episode is with Mary Walworth from the Max Planck Institute. Mary is co-leader of the Comparative Oceanic Languages (CoOL) Project at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she focused primarily on documenting the understudied languages of French Polynesia. She specializes in the historical relationships of Oceanic languages, examining both direct relatedness and indirect, contact-based linguistic development. She has worked with many communities throughout French Polynesia and Vanuatu, most recently on the islands of Emae and Epi in Central Vanuatu.

In this episode, Mary shares her experience of parenting in the field, and how having her family with her during fieldwork affected her research and her relationship with the community she collaborates with.

Chatting with a speaker of Fakamae language (and having a “play-date”) in Makatea village, October 2018. 
Recording a variety of Lewo language in Laman Bay Village, Epi Island, Vanuatu, during a survey of east Epi language varieties. August 2017.

Things mentioned in this episode:

Ep 16: Remote Fieldwork with Richard T. Griscom

This week’s episode is with Richard T. Griscom, a post-doctoral researcher at Leiden University. Richard obtained his bachelor’s and PhD degrees from the University of Oregon. Richard’s research focuses on language documentation, fieldwork methodology, and functional-typological linguistic description and theory, with a special emphasis on the languages of East Africa. Over the past five years, he has been working with the Asimjeeg Datooga and the Hadzabe, both endangered minority language communities of northern Tanzania. He is a recipient of two grants from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and is a depositor at the Endangered Languages Archive

Richard looks at audio and video recordings with Hadza researchers in Domanga, Tanzania (Photo credit Nadia Jassim)

Things mentioned in this episode:

Richard’s equipment:

Richard crosses the Sibiti River in Tanzania with Yohani Mangi and Yonah Ndege, two speakers of Asimjeeg Datooga

Ep 15: Rethinking the ‘field’ in Fieldwork with Hannah Gibson

This episode is with Hannah Gibson, who is a Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Essex. She holds an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from SOAS University of London, and BA in Swahili and Law from the same institution. Her research is primarily concerned with linguistic variation, particularly why and how languages change. Much of her work explores the syntax and semantics of the Bantu languages, with a focus on languages spoken in Eastern Africa. She has conducted data collection in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.

In this episode, Hannah and I discuss her research, what her daily research routine looks like, and why we should think critically about what we mean when we use the term “fieldwork”. 

Data collection for siSwati with Sikhumbuzo Khoza, Judith Nkuna & Kyoung-Won Jeong (Bongane Nyambi out of shot)

Things mentioned in the episode:

Data collection for Rangi (and hanging out on a Sunday afternoon), Haubi Central Tanzania

Ep 14: Fieldwork in the Time of COVID-19 with Guillem Belmar

Today’s episode is Guillem Belmar, a Linguistics PhD student at UC Santa Barbara. In this episode, we discuss the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on fieldwork. This discussion was inspired by UCSB grad students who have started a group to share and debate online fieldwork, and this post on social media from Guillem, which urged fieldworkers to pause field trip plans in light of the pandemic.

Guillem has many years of experience in language revitalization strategies as well as documentation of endangered or minoritized languages. He has worked on language promotion for many European languages and runs the #Europeminoritylanguages project on social media. He is currently involved with the project Maintaining Indigenous Languages within Immigrant Oaxacan Communities in the United States (MICOP/UCSB).

Guillem presenting at a conference in Malta, on Language Revitalization and Digital presence

Things mentioned in this episode:

Other things:

Guillem talking about the importance of using and documenting minority languages, on Frisian TV in Frisian (where Guillem lived, worked and did research 2017-2019)

Ep 13: Jeff Good on Facilitating Language Documentation in Cameroon

Welcome to Season Two! This is the first episode of Season Two on Field Notes. Although we are living in strange times and fieldwork is not currently possible due to the COVID-19, Field Notes will continue publishing weekly episodes this season to share information and experiences from the field which will hopefully benefit our listeners in the future (when fieldwork is possible again). Until then, hang in there, we are all in this together.

This episode’s guest is Jeff Good. Jeff is a professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Buffalo in New York. Jeff is a typologist and his research focuses on lesser-documented Batoid languages in the lower Fungom region of Northwest Cameroon. In this episode, Jeff shares how he started working in the lower Fungom region and how he now works with scholars in Cameroon to facilitate language documentation and research from his base in Buffalo.

Jeff Good with two of the last rememberers of the Lung variety, Baba Sah Nicholas Che (left) and Nfuah Kio Joseph (right) 

Things mentioned in this episode:

A multidisciplinary training workshop organized by KPAAM-CAM in Yaoundé, Cameroon

Ep 12: Miroslav Valeš on Fieldwork in the Americas & Spain

This week’s episode is with Miroslav Valeš, who has a  Ph.D. in Spanish Philology from Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic and is currently Head of the Department of Romance Languages at the Technical University of Liberec, Czech Republic. In this interview, Miroslav discusses his long and varied fieldwork career, including his experiences working with the Lakhota (USA), Shuar (Ecuador) and A Fala (Spain) communities.

Content Warning:

There is some sensitive material discussed in this interview, including traditional practices that some people may find disturbing.

Transcribing an interview (Community-Driven Documentation and Description of A Fala)

Things mentioned in this episode: 

Thank you to everyone who listened, followed and subscribed to Field Notes during our inaugural season (special shoutout to listeners who sent in questions for our Q&A episodes 9 & 10!). Season 2 will be announced on the Field Notes website (here) and on social media (Instagram and Twitter), @lingfieldnotes

Listen here on Podbean, or on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or other podcast apps via RSS. 

Ep 11: Alex Garcia on Monolingual Fieldwork in The Philippines

This week’s episode is with Alex Garcia (University of Barcelona). Alex works with the Northern Alta Community in the Philippines. In this episode, Alex discusses how he started working with speakers of Nothern Alta, and how he learned Northern Alta in order to conduct monolingual fieldwork. 

After a day of recording, with Marylin Gallego & an Alta family from Dianed village (2017)

Things mentioned in this episode

Listen here on Podbean, or on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or other podcast apps via RSS.

Ep 10: Fieldwork Q&A with Vera Ferreira & Hugo Cardoso (Part 2)

Today’s episode is part two of our Q&A episode with Vera Ferreira (CIDLeS & ELDP) & Hugo Cardoso (University of Lisbon). In this episode, we discuss questions from listeners such as “How can fieldworkers deal with the often tragic and uncomfortable circumstances in the field?”, “How can we reduce our environmental impact in the field?” and “How to deal with difficult recording situations”. Just a reminder, the responses to these questions are based on our own experiences in the field and do not necessarily reflect best practice (i.e., your mileage may vary). 

Things mentioned in this episode:

Recording a walkabout in Trincomalee guided by Derrick Keil (photo by Jennifer White)

Thank you to our listeners who sent in questions, if you have a question about linguistic fieldwork, you can email it to fieldnotespod@gmail.com

If you would like to hear more about Vera’s fieldwork with the Fala (Spain), Minderico (Portugal) and Bavarian (Germany) communities, you can listen to Field Notes episode two. If you would like to learn more about Hugo’s work with the Diu and Kerala communities (India) and the Portuguese Burgher community (Eastern Sri Lanka), you can listen to episode four.

Listen here on Podbean, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Casual talk with Minderico speakers in the streets of Minde (photo from Vera Ferreira)