This collection of original essays on the practice of linguistic fieldwork and language documentation by twelve leading field linguists considers the study of languages in a natural setting. Drawing on extensive research experience, the authors review those techniques that work best in practice, and discuss a variety of relevant topics, including the attitude of the linguist, the structure and content of the work session, the varied roles of native speakers, and the practical and personal challenges of doing research in an unfamiliar environment.
'This collection will play an invaluable role in maintaining the growing renewal of interest in an area of linguistics which for a good number of years has been neglected.' Forum for Modern Language Studies '... there are certainly no bad essays here ... Several of the essays are enhanced by photographs, and the quality of the proofreading is excellent ... Before the appearance of this book, budding linguistic fieldworkers had often to learn about the nitty-gritty of fieldwork through conversations with existing fieldworkers, or through reading the introductions to grammars and other works which are the fruit of fieldwork. This book, with its zest and flashes of humour, will give new fieldworkers a good idea of what to expect in the field, and at least some inkling of why people go there - and why they usually return again and again.' The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute