Field work project: details

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LING. 4420/5420

FALL 2003

PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT AND FOLLOW IT – YOUR GRADE DEPENDS ON IT. Each group will meet with the linguistic consultant for a maximum of 10 hours, eliciting data. There will be one written report per group, answering at least the questions below, due on or before Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 10:00 a.m. (That’s the end of the scheduled final exam period.) If there are differences of opinion about the analysis, include all the opinions (with names of proponents, if you like). If you feel that someone in your group did not contribute equally to the project, please tell me that privately (not by email).

In order to allow us to pay your consultant, you must report to me his/her name, home address, and social security number. We also need to know whether or not the person is already on the CU payroll for any reason -- the paperwork is different for CU employees. Please get that information to me as soon as you can -- don’t wait to put it in your final report. If your consultant is not a CU employee, we also need a W-9 form. Ask me or someone in the dept. office to supply one.

Your report must answer the questions listed below; you may go beyond these in any way you wish, and supplement your report accordingly (What did you want to find? What did you ask to try to find it? What did you learn?). I think that if you get translations of all these sentences, you will have all the data you need (and probably more besides), but feel free to supplement these sentences if you wish.

Include all your data (or at least the translations of the sentences supplied here) in an appendix to the report, but use only samples to illustrate your analysis. In both instances, be sure to GLOSS as well as translate the data. (Look at the way VanValin/LaPolla presents examples, or Payne.) If there are morphemes you can’t figure out from your data at this point, gloss them with question marks and comment on them in the last part of your report.

Your report will contain three parts:

  1. Preface, three subparts. First, a page or less in which you describe your procedures, how you divided up the work, when and for how long you met with the speaker (and whether all of you were present at the meeting(s)). Include here anything you want to report about how the project was conducted except complaints that one or more of your team members did not participate equally – that kind of information must be given to me orally (not email) and privately. Include here, too, a statement of who wants a copy of the report with my comments on it after it’s been graded. Second, a list of abbreviations you use in your glosses. Third, a very brief and non-technical “pronunciation guide” that helps the reader understand how to pronounce any odd characters that you use.

  2. Main report (answers to questions posed below).

  3. Appendix: the elicited sentences and their translations.

Report Mechanics

  1. Number the pages.

  2. Give the data item number from your appendix along with the data when you give an example.

  3. Number the pages.

  4. Make your report “reader friendly”: use a reasonable font and font size, write enough detail to let the reader understand how you came to your conclusions, explain doubts or dilemmas as necessary.

  5. Number the pages.

  6. Proofread your report, especially the English. This is awkward with a spell-checker when a lot of the report is not English words – the best way to catch typos, etc., is to have someone who did not write the document read it.
  7. Give evidence of teamwork. It is not usually successful simply to divide the questions among team members and have each person write a part, unless everyone checks on everyone else; if you don’t read each other’s analyses, morphemes are likely glossed or analyzed differently through the report and the overall report has other kinds of internal contradictions.

  8. Number the pages and reference your examples using sentence numbers from your appendix.

Grading Criteria

accurate answers to all 15 questions 60%;

presentation (how the report is organized and holds together) 30%;

noticing interesting little things that aren’t addressed by the questions 5%;

overall impression of quality of work on the project 5%.
I will make a copy of the report with my comments on it for any team member who wants one; indicate your request in your preface .

Some Field Work Hints

  1. Treat your consultant as the expert that he or she is; be polite, respectful, friendly.

  2. Don’t ask questions using technical terminology like “subject” or “relative clause”. Make up a sentence (use the vocabulary words in the data) that gets at your questions instead of asking the speaker for an analysis.

  3. Don’t send the speaker home with the questions to translate and take only the written responses as your data. Investigate the data as you elicit it – try varying the word order, or leaving out a particle, and see what happens. Questions that often work are “Could you also say it this way ____?” or “Would it mean anything to say …?” Get glosses of individual words as you go along, too, but don’t work too hard at getting precise translations of particles or grammatical morphemes. Imagine what you would do if someone asked you to give the meaning of English “of”, for example.

The Questions

1. What is the basic word order in transitive sentences? If you can’t tell, say why. Describe any observed deviations from the basic pattern (what changes and why).

2. Describe the order of elements in the noun phrase.
3. Is the language head-initial, or head-final, or is there some inconsistency?
4. Examine the encoding of S, A, and P, making a separate description for nouns and pronouns if warranted. How are these roles marked? Is the language nom./acc. or erg./abs or split (split how?)? Are there double-object constructions?

note: It’s best not to try to examine other kinds of case marking, with the possible exception of dative (recipient or beneficiary).

5. How are adjectival predicates handled? Is there a difference between present and non-present tenses in these constructions? Does the language have a copula?
6. Are the categories of gender (or some other kind of noun class), person, and/or number of one or more of the arguments marked (either in the NP or on the verb or both)? Where and how? If your answer is “no”, provide examples to show that you tried to find this marking and failed. If your answer is “yes”, provide a chart of the morphemes.
7. Is the case marking (if any) restricted to certain kinds of nouns? For example, are only definite P’s case-marked, or only inanimate A’s?
8. How is possession marked in this language? Is there a difference between alienably and inalienably possessed nouns?

9. Describe the tense/aspect/mood system of the language. What morphemes mark these categories? Are there auxiliary verbs involved, and if so, do they have a non-auxiliary use or meaning?

10. What is the rule for simple negation of a proposition?
11. How are yes-no questions formed? Are wh-questions different from these? Is there anything remarkable about negative questions? How do you answer “yes” or “no” to a question? Is it different for a negative question?

  1. Describe the relative clause formation rules. Where is the head? Does the clause precede or follow the head (or contain it)? How far down the agency hierarchy can you go with relativization?

  1. Describe causative constructions. How does case marking work for the causer and the causee?

  2. How are imperatives formed? Is there a special way to form a negative imperative?

  1. Is there anything else you would like to discuss?

The data
Note that some of these sentences are intended to be grouped, to form little 5-6 line stories. It is important that those “stories” be elicited as connected text.

There may be features of some of these sentences that make them difficult for a particular language; feel free to experiment with vocabulary or paraphrased structures as necessary -- but be sure you talk about those modifications in your report.

1. A girl went to school.

2. She was happy.

3. She made up a story.

4. Her teacher liked the story.

5. The girl was proud.

6. The story was exciting.

7. Her friends were happy.
8. A boy caught a fish.

9. The fish was big.

10. The boy took the fish home.

11. He cleaned it.

12. He gave it to his mother.

13. His mother cooked it.

14. They ate it.

15. It was delicious.

16. I saw a boy.

17. He had caught a fish.

18. His mother had cooked it.

19. They had eaten it.

20. The fish is big.

21. The fish is fresh.

22. That boy is big.

23. This boy is big.

24. That girl is big.

25. This girl is big.

26. That fish is big.

27. This fish is big.

28. That school is big.

29. This school is big.

(note: You might explore here whether your language has a third degree of deictic distance, like Japanese or Spanish.)

30. I saw a house.

31. It (=the house) was big and pretty.

32. I saw some houses.

33. They (=the houses) were big and pretty.

34. The happy girl made up an exciting story.

35. The big boy caught a delicious fish.

36. The girls made up stories.

37. The boys caught some fish.

38. The boys caught three fish.

39. Their three fish were big.

40. The boys caught three big fish.

41. My father tells exciting stories.

42. My mother tells exciting stories.

43. I tell exciting stories.

44. You (sg) tell exciting stories.

45. We (inclusive or exclusive???) tell exciting stories.

46. You (pl) tell exciting stories.

47. They tell exciting stories.

48. I told exciting stories.

49. We told exciting stories.

50. You (sg) told exciting stories.

51. You (sg or pl) used to tell exciting stories.

52. My father will tell exciting stories this evening.

53. I will tell exciting stories tomorrow evening.

54. I can tell an exciting story right now.

55. She is telling an exciting story right now.

56. They told exciting stories last year.

57. They might tell exciting stories this evening.

58. You should tell an exciting story tomorrow evening.

59. You should have told an exciting story yesterday.

60. The girl’s story was exciting.

61. The boy’s fish was big.

62. The boy’s mother didn’t cook the fish.

63. The girl didn’t make up a story.

64. The girl’s friends didn’t like the story.

65. The boy didn’t catch a fish.

66. They couldn’t eat the fish.

67. I am tall.

68. I run fast.

69. You (sg) are tall.

70. You run fast.

71. I watched you.

72. You watched me.

73. My father is tall.

74. My mother runs fast.

75. My father watched me.

76. I watched my father.

77. Do you run fast?

78. Did you eat the fish?

79. Was the fish delicious?

80. Was the girl happy?

81. Did your mother tell the story?

82. Did you like your mother’s story?

83. Did the boy’s mother cook the fish?

84. Will the boy’s mother clean the fish?

85. Can the boy clean the fish?

86. Clean the fish!

87. Tell a story!

88. Be happy!

89. Where is the school?

90. What did she cook?

91. When will they tell the story?

92. When did they tell the story?

93. Where did the boy catch the fish?

94. Who caught the fish?

95. Who cooked the fish?

96. What did they take home?

97. Where did the girl go?

98. Whose friends were happy?

99. Who did you see?

100. Who saw you?

101. The boy gave the fish to his mother.

102. The boy’s mother gave the cooked fish to the boy.

103. The girl showed her story to the teacher.

104. The teacher told the story to the girl’s friends.

105. My father showed me a house.

106. My father bought me a house.

107. My father built me a house.

108. Didn’t you eat the fish? (yes, I did; no, I didn’t).

109 Don’t eat the fish!

110. One can’t eat that fish.

111. Don’t tell that story!

112. Didn’t you tell that story yesterday? (Yes, I did ---- No, I didn’t)

113. Don’t you like fish? (Yes, I do; no, I don’t).

114. The fish that the boy caught was delicious.

115. The boy that caught the fish let his mother cook it.

116. The boy that runs fast is tall.

117. I saw the boy that caught the fish.

118. I saw the fish that the boy caught.

119. The story that the girl made up made the teacher happy.

120. The teacher liked the story that the girl made up.

121. The girl that the boy gave the fish to is happy.

122. The boy gave the fish to the girl who made up the story.

123. The boy lives in a big house.

124. The house that the boy lives in is pretty.

125. I like the house that the boy lives in.

126. We made the boy cook the fish.

127. He had his mother cook the fish.

128. The fish cooked quickly.

129. The fish made the girl run fast.

130. My mother let me catch three fish.

131. My mother helped me catch three fish.

132. My mother had me catch three fish.

133. My mother made me catch three fish.

134. My mother forced me to catch three fish.

135. The exciting stories made me happy.

136. The three fish that the boy gave my mother were fresh.

137. The three fish that the boy had his mother cook were delicious.

138. The boy that we gave the fish to ran fast.

139. The girl that the boy gave the fish to was happy.

140. The boy that gave the girl the fish had caught it.

141. The fish swam away.

142. We made the fish swim away.

143. We let the fish swim away.

144. The boy saw the girl and ran away.

145. The boy saw the girl and she ran away.

146. The boy saw the girl and was happy.

147. The girl caught the fish and took it home.

148. The boy cooked the fish and gave it to the girl.

149. The boy gave the girl the fish and she cooked it.

150. Let’s all go home.

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