Native Languages of the Southwest at UT Arlington
From the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop; the Alabama group, with UT Arlington Linguistics &Student Lori McLain Pierce

Department of Linguistics & TESOL | The University of Texas at Arlington

CoLang 2014: Institute on Collaborative Language Research



Phonological Documentation Methods


Monday, June 23 8:30-10:30 am

Many discussion of fieldwork and documentation methods presents only short discussions of phonological documentation techniques, often relying on acoustic/phonetic analysis. However, the best phonological documentation involves more techniques and tools than this. In this workshop, I outline a number of methodologies and elicitation techniques that rely on native speaker judgments and speaker actions as tools for phonological documentation. I will bring in additional examples and direct observations, coming from a number of fieldwork and revitalization/endangered language teaching contexts. In addition, we will consider other resources helpful to documenting phonology, those internal and external evidence patterns that are essential for phonological analysis and description. Examples and scenarios come from my own fieldwork and revitalization projects with various Native American language communities, as well as work in other contexts. We will also spend time exploring prosodic documentation.
The prosody of a language includes key features of a language's pronunciation: pitch, loudness, duration, and vowel quality. These elements are often precisely those aspects of sound crucial to "sounding native-like" in acquiring a language. However, prosodic documentation of a language has been claimed to be one of the most challenging areas for linguists when documenting an unfamiliar language. For example, Himmelmann and Ladd (2008: 245) note that field training manuals often fail to adequately cover prosodic features, also commenting that "[b]ecause it works at different levels and because it has both universal and language- specific aspects, prosody is likely to seem mysterious and difficult." More and better phonological documentation of languages thus has value for both language revitalization and linguistic analysis.

Lecture Slides
Woodbury and Cruz (2011)

Link to Tone Workshop
Link to Prosodic Systems
Link to Toney software for Phonetic Classification


Colleen Fitzgerald - Click here to view her biography.