The Embroidered Wug

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#mays-dissertation posts

Musing about methods of language description

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about research methods. The next step of my PhD program is writing a dissertation proposal — so in a nut shell, I need to decide what questions I’m asking and what methods I’ll use to answer them.

In general, people usually talk about two data sources for language description: elicitation and texts. Elicitation includes asking for translations of words or sentences — “How do you say X in your language?”. Sometimes the researcher will construct a sentence and ask if it’s grammatical, and sometimes people elicit words and sentences using pictures rather than a verbal prompt, but elicitation always means you’re directly asking for a piece of linguistic information. When we say text, on the other hand, we mean a more natural type of speech — for example someone telling a story, or explaining how to do a particular task. A text could be written or spoken; regardless, linguists then search the text for examples of a particular phenomenon and analyze it’s use.

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The dissertation transition: How do I organize my time??

This fall semester is going to be a little different for me — and not just because COVID-19 has canceled my fieldwork plans and forced me to work from my kitchen. This semester, I am officially a PhD Candidate. I have finished my graduate coursework. I have submitted a Qualifying Paper. I have convinced five kind scholars to be on my dissertation committee. I have reached the notorious ABD stage: All But Dissertation.

Which means that this fall, I have “nothing” to do except plan and write a dissertation.

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Graduate school in the time of COVID-19: Rethinking my dissertation

There are many things to write about COVID-19 and how it’s impacting graduate students right now. It’s overwhelming. I struggle to find words. The words I’ve found are about research travel, so that’s what I’m writing about now.

The Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP), one of the major funding agencies of linguistic fieldwork, announced on March 20 that they will not be reviewing applications submitted during the 2020 cycle:

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