Dan Everett on the ethics of linguistic fieldwork

dan everett

 

One evening, Linea Flansmose Mikkelsen and Liv Moeslund Ahlgren met up in Lingoland at Aarhus University and set up a zoom-connection across the Atlantic Ocean to talk to Dan Everett. He is an American linguist, best known for his work on the Pirahã language, and is currently a professor at Bentley University. This is the second part of the interview, where we talk about the ethics of fieldwork, building relationships and the importance of seeing yourself as a student.

In the first part of the interview, we discussed Dan Everett’s career, motivations and his dream project.

You started your career as a missionary and ended up as a scientist. Can you tell us about some of the ethical

Dan Everett on the excitement of being a linguist

dan everett

 

One evening, Linea Flansmose Mikkelsen and Liv Moeslund Ahlgren met up in Lingoland at Aarhus University and set up a zoom-connection across the Atlantic Ocean to talk to Dan Everett. He is an American linguist, best known for his work on the Pirahã language, and is currently a professor at Bentley University. This is the first part of the interview, where we talk about Dan Everett’s career, motivations and his dream project.

In the second part of the interview, we discuss the ethical aspects of doing fieldwork.

Can you tell a bit about yourself and how you got into linguistics?

Yeah, so I got into linguistics in order to be a bible translator. I met a young woman …

On some colonial power structures in the field of linguistics

A central discipline within linguistics is language description, which in many cases is carried out by white, Western researchers doing fieldwork on languages that are not spoken in the West. It is no secret that this tradition has its roots partly in European colonization and partly in Christian missionary work. Many language descriptions have thus been motivated by the wish to describe and map out the cultures and areas that the Europeans colonized, and furthermore, language descriptions have acted as foundations for translations of the Bible in connection with Christian missionary work. Much of modern linguistics is built on the works of this tradition, but despite this, it has not has not confronted its colonial past as a scientific discipline. …

Researchers hiding in fear of GDPR

gdpr

GDPR – business or pleasure?

Do you remember GDPR (or, for mnemonic assistance, Gitte and Per)? This is one of three posts on the EU law that everybody feared last year: What did we think it was, what is it, and what effects has it had?

In the weeks before 25 May 2018, I received up to thirty e-mails a day (yes, I have too many accounts at webshops and social media) with similar text: “We are updating our Privacy Policy”.

gdpr mails e1570434980257gdpr mails2 e1570435009106

… all on occasion of GDPR, EU’s new data law, which Lingoblog has written about here and here.

The many e-mails made me think if I ought to send a similar one out to all of my …

Reviving an indigenous language: an interview with Daniel Huircapán

Navarro 3 Zoom af kort

In August this year I read an article in the Argentinian newspaper Página 12 about the National Conference of Indigenous Languages held in Argentina. Unfortunately, the article was quite lacking in information about the Conference itself and about the linguistic work done by Daniel Huircapán, who was mentioned in the article. I thought this was too bad, because his work sounded very interesting – so I decided to contact him myself by email. On the 3rd of September 2019 I did a Skype interview with Daniel Huircapán who is a member of the Günün a Küna indigenous community in Argentina. He is one among a small group of people (mostly natives) who since 2007 have immersed themselves in the …

‘Microphone in the Mud’ by Laura Robinson

coverSP06 450x675

Lingoblog continues to provide you with suggestions for your summer readings on various linguistic topics. This week we have found a book about fieldwork.

As a linguistic fieldworker you typically travel to a remote place to live with a tribe, you are adopted into the community and you learn a language in order to document and describe it. So you take on many different roles. First and foremost, you’re a linguistic researcher, trying to uncover patterns in an underdescribed or perhaps completely undescribed language. You’re also a data archivist, ethnologist, technician and administrator, just to name a few: fieldwork involves the collection and storage of high-quality data in an ethical manner, typically with ample administrative and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome.…

2019 – International Year of Indigenous Languages

indigenous 4

2019 – International Year of Indigenous Languages

2019 – Internationaal Jaar van de Inheemse Talen

2019 – Internationalt år for indfødte sprog

2019 – Ôma askiy kâ-miyawâtamihk iyiniw-pîkiskwêwina misiwêskamik

2019 – Hur gatung haba ba pinang ajimi gi’e palika kakanap taang unavera

On the 28th of January, the start of the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) will take place. IYIL is an initiative by the United Nations and is organised by UNESCO. International Years are organised yearly, with the goal of creating awareness for a particular issue of current importance to earth and/or mankind, and to allow and mobilise people to take action for a certain cause. Already in 2016 did the UN decide that 2019 would …