2015: Field Methods: བུམ་ཐང་
In LING3012/LING6009 for semester 2, 2015 we will be learning field techniques by investigating Bumthang (བུམ་ཐང་), a Tibeto-Burman language from central Bhutan, learning from Dorji Wangchuk (རྡོ་རྗི་དབང་ཕྱུག་; ±[dɔɹdʑi wɑŋtɕuˑ]) (see below for a picture).
The course will run officially from the week of July 20 until the end of October; meetings with Dorji will be available each week from the beginning of August until the middle of November (including during the teaching break).
Thursday, BPB 3rd floor, 'Departmental Centre' (= Library), optional drop-in, 2-4pm.
Friday, BPB W119):
10-11: Mark + all students
11-12: Mark + all students + Dorji
12-1: Catherine, Yuka + Dorji
1-2: Naomi, Jon, + Dorji + drop-in assistants / Jon
2-3: Tom, Carlo + Dorji
3-4: Bonnie, Naijing + Dorji
4-5: (Mark + Dorji + drop-in curious types)
As you can see, there's room for things getting a bit confused; and, for the first week at least, we might want to have more than two at a time, so we can see how it goes.
We can also swap around with each other, if one week is different from another week. Pre-arrange it with others ahead of time. You might want to swap phone numbers.Course outline: here.
PhoneticsI have now posted some single words and simple utterances here to give you and idea of how this language will sound. We'll update these as we go along in the course, as well as on the alliance site. Note: this is where recordings of stories (extracted from sessions) go.
Make sure you have notes about details, not just impressions. You want to be able to do a decent, detailed description of the phonetics of the language to tie in with the phonology (cue the next section).
PhonologyWe're work on this in a mixture of together comments and individual observations, and write up individually. Pay attention to word shapes, and syllables; to prosody and to segments; to roots and to morphemes. That order actually makes a lot of sense, more than starting with (for instance) 'consonants and vowels' (which is how most descriptions begin). (Phonetics/Phonology assignment)
MorphologyOK, we've noticed some stuff, namely (to quote from 11am, 20150814): tense/aspect (what categories? how certain are you? how will you test for it?; case-marking (alignment? which semantic divisions are marked? how is it more, or less, explicit than English?). We'll look at general works on how to investigate 'language', and delve into some descriptions of related languages.
TranscriptionIt would be fair to say thwat we're not yet sure about … well, anything.
Nonetheless, it's time to try your hand at transcribing some running speech.
SyntaxWhat do we know? What do we speculate about? What have we forgotten to check yet? What might imply what else? (Major assignment)
ResourcesVarious useful links, and we'll post some pdfs here as well.
On-line useful things
Various pdfs about field work and about the Himalayas:
Various pdfs about linguistic analysis:
Descriptive grammars of languages near-ish, or related to, Bhutan languages:
Overviews that are either relevant or useful (or both):
Guide to the orthography used in Bhutan and how to transliterate it:
Description of Bumthang
We generated these! They've also moved to their own page, as this was starting to get out of control. Find them here.(Other photos of the class doing its thing: here!)