Dilemmas and Paradoxes in Linguistic Fieldwork

Jørgen Rischel


The retrieval of data was never an issue that loomed large in standard textbooks on linguistics. It remained rather peripheral, even to scholars with a long experience in approaching linguistic data. Introductory textbooks teaching morphological or syntactic analysis are often very bad in this respect: they tend to depict raw data as a set of carefully selected and flawlessly transcribed forms. Thus they create a dangerous illusion in the minds of students unless the teacher provides a counterbalance by explaining and demonstrating how crucially important it is for the whole field of linguistics how the raw material used as input was retrieved in the first place.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v28i1.3858