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Basics of Field Linguistics Masterclass

News and photos from the April 2018 workshop

You are faced with people at your field site who speak a language different from your own: how to proceed? 

The LCRC ran the highly successful Linguistic Skills for Ethnographic Field Research Masterclass on 5-6 April 2018 at The Cairns Institute, JCU. 

The Masterclass, organised and run by Dr Kasia Wojtylak, also included lectures by LCRC linguists, Dr Alex Walker, Dr Luca Ciucci, and the PhD students, Bai Junwei (Abe) and Nathan White. 

The course was designed for anthropologists and other researchers who conduct fieldwork in areas where non-written and lesser-known languages are spoken. The course introduced students to reasons why competency in the local language could be important to their research, and gave them introductory concrete, practical methods for linguistic research. 

Masterclass topics included:

  • introduction to language
  • language sounds
  • morphological analysis
  • syntax
  • ethics of linguistic fieldwork, and 
  • demonstration of software for dictionary-building and language-analysis. 

Nathan White, together with Bai Junwei, led a special event during the course – a monolingual demonstration with a speaker of non-European language – or, in other words – what do you do when you meet someone and you have no language in common? The workshop sparked a series of vibrant conversations among students discussing intricacies of the grammatical systems of world’s languages. 

(from right) Alicia Jamieson (North Queensland Land Council), Philip Kajons (Masters HDR candidate), Nalisa Neuendorf (PhD student in anthropology), Kirsten Foster (Honours student in anthropology), Angela Cunliffe (PhD student in anthropology), Dr Alex Walker (LCRC), Thanee Innes (PhD student in anthropology), Luis Arturo Aguilar Lopez (North Queensland Land Council), Nathan Woolford (PhD student in anthropology), Bai Junwei (LCRC), Dr Kasia Wojtylak (LCRC), Dr Maria Friend (anthropologist at JCU), Nathan White (LCRC), Dr Luca Ciucci (LCRC), and David Felipe Guerrero Beltrán (MA student in linguistics)

Participants of the Basics of Field Linguistics Masterclass (from right): Alicia Jamieson (North Queensland Land Council), Philip Kajons (Masters HDR candidate), Nalisa Neuendorf (PhD student in anthropology), Kirsten Foster (Honours student in anthropology), Angela Cunliffe (PhD student in anthropology), Dr Alex Walker (LCRC), Thanee Innes (PhD student in anthropology), Luis Arturo Aguilar Lopez (North Queensland Land Council), Nathan Woolford (PhD student in anthropology), Bai Junwei (LCRC), Dr Kasia Wojtylak (LCRC), Dr Maria Friend (anthropologist at JCU), Nathan White (LCRC), Dr Luca Ciucci (LCRC), and David Felipe Guerrero Beltrán (MA student in linguistics).

Dr Luca Ciucci and Dr Kasia Wojtylak, with Nathan Woolford (middle), a PhD student in anthropology at JCU, who as first solved a linguistic puzzle of Prof Bob Dixon (LCRC) offered as an entry exam for linguistic programs in the 1970s.

Dr Luca Ciucci and Dr Kasia Wojtylak, with Nathan Woolford (middle), a PhD student in anthropology at JCU, who as first solved a linguistic puzzle of Prof Bob Dixon (LCRC) offered as an entry exam for linguistic programs in the 1970s.

Luis Arturo Aguilar Lopez (left) and Alicia Jamieson from North Queensland Land Council, together with Honours student in anthropology at JCU, Kirsten Foster

Luis Arturo Aguilar Lopez (left) and Alicia Jamieson from North Queensland Land Council, together with Honours student in anthropology at JCU, Kirsten Foster.