Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Think It's Time We Started Seeing Other People...

... it's not you... it's me. You just can't give me everything I need...

For most researchers, fieldwork is mainly completed working closely with one or two people. But there comes a time when you need to broaden your horizons. It's a chance to check that what one person thinks is right holds across a number of speakers. That way you're documenting a language, not an idiolect. And no, an idiolect is not a language spoken by idiots - it's someone's personal (ie idiosyncratic) variety of language.

Today I had my first session with someone other than A. One of her cousins is staying with her for a week. It was a very basic session, we did the 100 word Swadesh List, which is a list of basic vocabulary that a lot of linguists use as a starting point. It was one of the first things I did with A. almost two months ago, and it was exciting to notice while we were going through it that I felt about a thousand times more confident than I did the first time I worked my way through this list with A.

This will hopefully be the first of many sessions with other speakers. Plans for a trip to the country are beginning to firm up.

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