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Department of Linguistics

Plants, animals, words: a multidisciplinary workshop

Plants, animals, words workshop - logo

Image design: Ebany Dohle

Date: 19 September 2013Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 21 September 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: L67

Type of Event: Workshop

This workshop is designed to encourage interdisciplinary research in the areas of linguistics and ethnobiology by bringing together researchers from these fields and others. Through a sharing of perspectives and theories, followed by hands-on skills workshops and a series of presentations and case studies, participants will learn how to make their research truly useful to a multi-disciplinary audience. The aim of this workshop is to open discussion between researchers, developing opportunities for future collaboration and providing a platform for learning about each other’s methods and requirements.

By bringing together researchers from the relevant disciplines, namely linguists and ethnobiologists, this workshop will be a space for engagement and exchange, increasing support networks and informing future research.

Students from anthropology, ethnobiology, linguistics, and other relevant disciplines are strongly encouraged to participate.


Day/Time Description
Thursday, 19 September
09:00-10:00Welcome and RationaleCandide Simard (SOAS) and Lydia Green
10:00-13:00Interdisciplinary Ethics Workshop

Interactive exercises and group work while planning and designing a project as we explore:

  • Ethics statements (ISE, AAA)
  • Participation
  • Working with people/Cultural differences
  • Research agreements
  • FPIC
  • Children and other vulnerables
  • Returning results
  • Redlists and Endangered species

Round table discussion: Raj Puri

14:00-17:00Linguistics Workshop

2 x 2 hour sessions(CS, LG, ED, SM, KC)

  1. IPA/Phonetics training; Eliciting data and data collection
  2. Quality recordings
  3. Archiving/quality of recordings (Kakia Chatsiou): How to manage and present your data

Why this is important, what constitutes documentation in linguistics; showcase ethnobotanical language documentation projects held in the archive; discuss the importance of metadata for making primary data relevant for cross-disciplinary audiences; access protocols

Hands-on exercises so participants can explore corpora and learn about managing the information. Walkthrough of the archive's related collections - registering, accessing, protocols, browsing

Friday, 20 September
09:00-09:30Welcome, Feedback sessionReview of previous day
09:30-09:40Introduction of speakers 
09:40-10:50LinguisticsSerge Sagna: Research in Senegal on Gújjolaay Eegimaa (Serge’s own language)
Link between linguistic enquiry and biology; noun classifiers and biological classification
10:50-11:50Ethnozoology/placenamesThomas F. Thornton, Director, MSc Environmental Change & Management & Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford,  Christ Church
12:00-13:30Ethnozoology/bird identificationBob Gosford, Darwin-based writer, lawyer and ethnobiologist, Pacific & Oceania representative for the International Society of Ethnobiology, and moderator of the web-based Ethnoornithology Research & Study Group
14:00-17:00Ethnozoology Workshop

2 x 2 hour sessions
Andrew Gosler, Tom Thornton, Bob Gosford

  • Collecting animal specimens (animals parts
  • Identification of animals, species
  • Matching local names to scientific nomenclature
  • Skills and techniques
Saturday, 21 September
09:00-09:30Welcome, Feedback sessionReview of previous day
09:30-13:30Ethnobotany Workshop

Raj Puri, others TBC

  • Local classification systems: pitfalls
  • Landscapes and habitats (env. contexts)
  • Collecting plant specimens (incl plant parts)
  • Identification of plants (vouchers and plant)
14:30-16:00Round TableRound table discussion “lessons learnt” from previous days. Ask participants (teams) to produce a diagram (or flipchart) of everything they have learned throughout the three days. This will help identify gaps in the workflow and provide a visual interpretation.
Where do we go from here?
16:00Closing SessionA wrap-up/feedback session of the conference


This workshop is jointly organized by the linguists Lydia Green (PhD candidate, University of Newcastle, Australia), Sophie Mu and Ebany Dohle (PhD students, SOAS, University of London) and Dr Candide Simard (post-doctoral researcher, SOAS, University of London).


Rajindra K. Puri, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology

Centre for Biocultural Diversity, School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building
University of Kent at Canterbury


Andrew G. Gosler
University Research Lecturer in Ornithology & Conservation

Fellow in Human Sciences, Mansfield College Oxford, Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology & Institute of Human Sciences, Oxford

Endangered Languages ARchive (ELAR)

Data Management and Archiving
Tom Castle, Kakia Chatsiou, Andrew A Clark, Frances Simmons
Endangered Languages ARchive (ELAR)
SOAS, University of London

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

Contact email: ethnobiology@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4892/3

Sponsor: We are grateful for the support of ELAR, ELAP and the Faculty for the organsiation of this event