particular incidents while recordings

Damien Hall djh514 at
Tue Jan 6 14:43:20 UTC 2009

Dear Mostari

Unfortunately, most sociolinguistic projects have some amount of problems 
similar to the ones you describe with your fieldwork! There's a good 
tradition of work on how to get around these problems: ways to ensure good 
recordings, ways to get informants to talk, etc etc. (Unfortunately, again, 
there's no accepted solution to the problem of people being late; you just 
have to try to predict the people who you think might be late and deal with 
it accordingly ...!) Ways to get people to talk include using 'interview 
modules' (planned sets of questions and directions for conversation, 
designed for specific studies and intended to deal with topics of 

A short and very good summary of ways to do this is in the following book:

Tagliamonte, Sali. 2006. _Analyzing Sociolinguistic Variation_.

(The book was published by either Oxford University Press or Cambridge 
University Press; I can't remember right now.)

I would recommend that you look at that book if you can. A good short 
article on fieldwork techniques is Labov (1981) _Field Methods of the 
Philadelphia Language Change and Variation Project_; if you can't get hold 
of the Tagliamonte book, I could send you a copy of the Labov article in 

Best wishes

Damien Hall

Damien Hall

University of York
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
York YO10 5DD

Tel. (office) 01904 432665
     (mobile) 0771 853 5634
Fax  01904 432673

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