Working with language consultants

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Linguistics

Module overview

The module provides advanced training in linguistic fieldwork methods by working with a speaker of a language that is not known to members of the class and collecting and analysing data on an area of the language structure and/or use. Students will work with one or more language consultants, and there will be a weekly seminar at which the results of the previous week’s sessions will be discussed and critical feedback and guidance provided. Each student will choose an area of the structure or functions of the language and develop a research project and essay on that topic.


Students are required to have a basic knowledge of Linguistics.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Design a research project that involves working with one or more speakers of a language they have not encountered before
  • Collect audio-visual and text data and metadata on the language
  • Choose and apply appropriate software tools to manage and analyse linguistic data and metadata
  • Analyse linguistic data on a particular topic, presenting arguments and evidence in favour of the analysis
  • Write up their analysis in the form of a research essay


The module will consist of weekly one-hour seminars and one-hour practical classes and workshops.

Scope and syllabus

The module will cover topics such as:

  • Working with language consultants
  • Preparing for data and metadata collection and management
  • Methods and techniques for audio and video recording
  • Introduction to linguistic software
  • Preparing and discussing analysis of linguistic data
  • Writing a research paper on language structure and/or function

Method of assessment

  • 20% - Reflective short essay (500 words)
  • 30% - Research essay (1,500 words)
  • 50% - Research essay (2,000 words)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • Bowern, Claire. 2008. Linguistic fieldwork: A practical guide. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Chelliah, Shobhana & Willem De Reuse. 2011. Handbook of descriptive linguistic fieldwork. Berlin: Springer
  • Sakel, Jeanette & Daniel L. Everett. 2012. Linguistic fieldwork: a student guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Thieberger, Nicholas (ed.) 2011. The Oxford handbook of linguistic fieldwork. Oxford: Oxford University Press


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules