Documentary Linguistics 2017: Tasks and texts

Slides from the class 05-12-2017
Exercises (please complete at home, maybe without the fifth exercise):

Second Task for grading. Due 12.12.2017

(slides of previous lectures at the bottom of this page)

Homework for the lecture 5 December 2017 (dowloading and reading)

Download and install the program ELAN on your computer, from this site: If possible, take your computer with you to the lectures in December! We need at least one computer per 2 students. Also take head phones with you!

Download the following sound files, store them on a device that you will bring to class (computer or cell phone):

Reading (one or both of the following):

PS Students who know Finnish: download the demo files “Reitti A-siipeen” from this site (under Demo > Reittidemo):;jsessionid=43C7E0354EF600079C7E8A4A8CE83202?0 (three files: .wav, .eaf, .mp4)

Homework for the lecture 14.11.2017

Payne, Thomas E. 1997. Describing morphosyntax. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Chelliah, Shobhana L. & Reuse, Willem J., eds. 2011. Handbook of descriptive linguistic fieldwork. Dordrecht: Springer. (The whole book is available as e-book from the university library)

Homework for the lecture 17.10.2017
Read at least one of these texts (read the other one for the next week)

  • Johnson, Heidi. 2004. Language documentation and archiving, or how to build a better corpus. Language Documentation and Description, ed. Peter K. Austin, vol. 2, 140-153. London: SOAS. Available at:
  • Mosel, Ulrike: Fieldwork and community language work. In Essentials of Language Documentation (see link below) *)

Start to explore language archives (see links on the last but one slide of the presentation)

Homework for the lecture 10.10.2017

Read one of these texts, note the main point(s) made in each section and find answers to (some of) the questions given below:

  • Himmelmann 2006. Language documentation: What is it and what is it good for? *)
  • Berge, Anna. 2010. Adequacy in documentation. In Furbee-Losee & Grenoble, eds., 51-66. (e-book, access through library portal => multi-search engine)


  1. For whom and for which purposes are languages documented?
  2. Why should native speakers take an active part in documenting a language?
  3. Why is it important to store primary data in open archives?
  4. Why is it not possible to record all communicative events in a given speech community?
  5. What are the functions of metadata?
  6. What is the relationship between documentation and description?
  7. Why are grammars and dictionaries NOT “lasting, multipurpose records” of a language?

*) You can download the whole book Essentials of Language Documentation (2006) here:

Further recommended reading:


Handout from the lecture 10 October 2017: includes the first task for course credits!