Field Methods and Endangered Languages

Instructor(s): Sally Rice

This course is designed to give intense, yet practical experience in linguistic data collection, analysis, and archiving of an indigenous language of the Americas (TBA). It examines techniques and protocols used in elicitation as well as giving hands-on exposure to various software tools for creating and maintaining a digital database (corpus) of language material. The course will also address issues relating to the value of direct elicitation vs. text or discourse analysis, the theoretical use to which field data is put, and the current critical need to train field linguists and native speakers to document endangered languages worldwide.


  • Basic courses in phonetics, phonology, and syntax (or consent of the instructor).
  • Enrollment limited to 12 students (no affiliates or auditors).
  • Scheduling: Every class member will also meet with our consultant outside of class for an additional hour or two, to be scheduled after the first class meeting.
  • Readings: Selected materials will be available online.

Special Enrollment Procedures for Field Methods:
This course (along with the other Field Methods course) has a limited enrollment in order to ensure the effectiveness of the class. At all past Institutes, requests for enrollment have far exceeded capacity, and we anticipate this will again be the case. Therefore you cannot enroll directly in this course, unlike other Institute courses. Instead, you must send an expression of your interest in the course to . The Institute directors, in conjunction with the two instructors of the field methods courses, will make the final decision as to who will be enrolled. You will then be automatically enrolled by the Institute, or else notified that you have not been accepted into the course and that you should enroll in another course.

Your expression of interest should include:

  1. what region of the world you come from, what languages you can speak, and what regions of the world you might expect to work in using your field methods experience (specific targetted languages are a plus).
  2. how you might expect to apply this field methods training within the next few years, in terms of specific theoretical research interests and goals.
  3. what other opportunites you have had or will have to pursue field methods training as a graduate student.
  4. whether you have done previous linguistic fieldwork.

Please limit your response to 250 words. We will of course also consult your application for further details of your academic record.

Note that, depending on exactly how the instructor chooses to conduct the course, you will most likely be required to pass an on-line Institutional Review Board exam on human research, hosted by the University of Colorado, which normally takes around 2-3 hours to complete. You will need to do this prior to arrival at the Institute. If you are selected for the course, we will give you the details about this on-line exam well in advance of the Institute.

Field Methods registration requests are still open! All requests will be considered as a group AFTER registration closes. We will notify you at that point if you have been admitted. Please remember to register for four courses now (other than field methods) and you can then drop one course later if admitted to field methods.

Course ID:

Tue & Fri 1:30-3:15

Classroom: HUMN 345

Areas of Linguistics:
Fieldwork and Language Documentation

Sponsored by: