Mark Donohue mark.donohue at man.ac.uk
Mon Feb 10 10:03:59 UTC 1997

Victor Golla writes:

>But most linguistic data gathering requires only
>a speaker and a linguist, a comfortable venue, and time to do the
>work.  It is something every linguistics student could be required
>to do with relatively little hassle, and even most dissertation-level
>work could be carried out in similar circumstances.

I for one would deny that one speaker and one linguist, without normal
interactive society and the normal (cultural, physical) environment of that
speaker's society, can truly represent the ideal environment in which to
gather data.

So may constructions and interesting points only surface when the langauge
is used for conversation, for story-telling to an interactive audience, to
explain cultural things.

In short, a field environment: not necessarily a wholly traditional one (if
so, we would indeed be hearkening back to the 19th century: I've met one
anthroplogy grad student who refused to work on any group that ahd had any
contact with the 20th century. He was having a hard time finding one, and
people were patiently pointing out the limitations of fieldwork with no
contact language, things he'd never considered).
But certainly an environment as close to "normal" for the speaker as possible.


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