Field-Methods

I have been teaching 'Field-Methods' course at University of Delhi and later at JNU for more than fifteen years by now. I have been thinking for quite some time to put all the teaching materials online for field-methods. I have had the opportunity to learn the skills of ‘language documentation/field-linguistics’ from several stalwarts in the field such as Prof. Anthony C. Woodbury, Prof. K. V. Subbarao, Prof. Reddy and many others who have inspired and taught me everything that I am capable of doing today.

I am thankful to my teachers in JNU from whom I learned the basics of “Field-Linguistics". I got the first exposure to the field during my Masters at JNU. The course, ‘Field-Methods’ had all the fun along with the serious studies. It was, in reality, the first instance to undertake something practical in linguistics. We were working on a language called "Sambalpuri". This language is spoken in Sambalpur, Orrisa.

The course helped me not only to crystallize the acquired knowledge of linguistics, but it also helped to think little beyond the theoretical concepts. I was given a very simple task to carry out in the course i.e. to prepare a lexicon of Sambalpuri. As the course progressed in time, I felt the urge to dive deep into the understanding of the lexicon. It was the wandering of those by-gone days that has helped me at present to understand the importance of the lexicon in the overall picture of the UG.

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One of the field-works which helped me to understand the deep roots of Words was the one I experienced while conducting the field work on the so called 'The Bangani Enigma'. It was a project from University of Heidelberg, Germany and Prof. Claus-Peter Zoller's discovery of kentum elements in the (satem) Indo-Aryan language Bangani was to be attested. Prof. Anvita Abbi was the Principal Investigator of the Project and I along with one of my colleagues Dr. Sunita Singh was the Project Assistant. Prof. Abbi's analysis or confirmation to the findings of Prof. Zoller is posted on the website of Prof. Peter E. Hook, University of Michigan, USA.