Linguistics 416
Field Methods in Linguistics
Section 001

Instructor: John Lawler (
Prerequisites: A course in phonetics or phonology, and a course in grammar

or Permission of Instructor.
Distribution: Excluded from distribution. This is a senior concentration course.
Credits: 3

The objective of this course is to provide students of linguistics (and well-prepared others) with an opportunity to apply the methods of linguistic analysis and theory that they have studied. Working directly with a native speaker consultant, we will analyze a language which is unfamiliar to the students.

This course is the culmination of any linguist's formal training; it turns out that one needs all the linguistics one knows in order to make sense of an unknown language, which is always full of perplexing subtleties and unexpected phenomena.

Starting with the sounds, and moving to the larger structures of the language, we will produce analyses of its phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. In the process, we will use special software developed by the Summer Institute of Linguistics specifically for field work in unknown languages.

At least two short papers, and one final term paper, involving an analysis of some aspect of the data collected will be required. There is no textbook, though there will be readings in a course pack. As a lab class, we will schedule an extra hour a week of elicitation by arrangement.

Check Times, Location, and Availability
List of links on Minangkabau culture and language

John Lawler
Linguistics Program
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA