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#research-methods posts

Lessons from Caseiyneën Saën: Creativity, resilience, and collaborative scholarship

This is the twelfth in a series of blog posts by participants in the 2019 ACLS Digital Extension Grant project “Ticha: advancing community-engaged digital scholarship” (PI Lillehaugen) published on GlobalSL / Community-based Global Learning Collaborative and Ticha.

The Ticha team started 2020 with a few goals: expand the resources available on the Ticha website, write a set of pedagogical materials, and workshop those pedagogical materials with Zapotec community members. Knowing little of what was to come, we started making big plans.

In a meeting last December, the team took some time to reflect on what we had actually accomplished in 2020. Many of our original plans did not work out in the way we had envisioned! But after lots of brainstorming and hard work, we had indeed met our goals. Everyone expressed a lot of gratitude towards the group, and something that stood out to me was how the deeply collaborative nature of the project had contributed to our successes throughout the year. As Xóchitl Flores-Marcial pointed out, “academia is generally pretty individualistic, it’s also very solitary, and this group demonstrates that we can definitely do things differently!”

[…read more on the Global SL Blog]

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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