LINGUIST List 7.872

Tue Jun 11 1996

Qs: Query on Language Description and Field Work

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  1. AVG Project, Query on Language Description and Field Work

Message 1: Query on Language Description and Field Work

Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 16:28:34 +0200
From: AVG Project <avgsun1.cip.fak14.uni-muenchen.de>
Subject: Query on Language Description and Field Work

Dear linguists,

this is a query to all linguists who work in the area of writing
reference grammars and/or have experience in field work or language
documentation. Since one of our goals is to facilitate your work in
the future, this query aims to get information about your working
conditions, your technical sup- port, and your preferred linguistic
framework, both with respect to your experience in the past and your
preferences for the future. So it would be a great help for us (and
maybe in the long run also for you!) if you could spend some ten
minutes to answer the questions given below.

We, the AVG project in Munich, are developing a format for descriptive
grammars which will be implemented as a database. The goal is to
optimize and facilitate the description of natural languages in such a
way that the criteria of individual descriptive adequacy and of
cross-linguistic comparability are simultaneously met. Last year we
inquired about users' preferences on reference grammars. For more
detailed information about the outcome of this query and our project
in general please visit our WWW pages. The URL is

 http://www.cip.fak14.uni-muenchen.de/~avg/

This year we are addressing authors, since the database will be
comple- mented by a front-end for grammar writers, a kind of grammar
authoring 'toolbox'. In order to optimize the design of this 'toolbox'
we need your opinion about existing systems and frameworks and, more
importantly, your wishes and suggestions for an ideal working bench
for grammar writing.

We will post a summary as soon as possible. Please send the completed
questionnaire to the following address:

 avgcip.fak14.uni-muenchen.de

Thank you very much for your kind cooperation,

the Munich AVG team
Ellen Brandner
Roman Pichler
Christian Stroemsdoerfer
Dietmar Zaefferer

Acknowledgements: We want to thank warmly the following people who
helped us to formulate this query: Eve Danziger, Volker Heeschen,
Elizabeth Keating, Ulrike Mosel, Eric Pederson, Eva Schultze-Berndt,
Gunter Senft, David Wilkins, Roberto Zavala.

___________________________________________________________________________
0 Technical Note

To answer the multiple choice questions, please type an 'X' between
the appropriate pair of brackets. Square brackets '[ ]' indicate that
you should choose only one of the answers to the given question,
parentheses '( )' indicate that you may choose several answers.
Subquestions are marked by indentation: If you have checked the
superordinate question, please answer the subquestions as well.
Starred questions are for volunteers and can be skipped if you are
short on time.

Please don't hesitate to add further comments to the questions,
wherever it seems appropriate!

___________________________________________________________________________
1 General Information

1.1 Languages under Consideration

A. I have worked on the following language(s):
B. I am planning to work on the following language(s):

1.2 Field Work Experience

Have you done any fieldwork in the process of writing your grammar?
[ ] no
[ ] yes:
 a. how long did you stay in the field (in sum)? Please specify:
 b. with how many consultants did you work? Please specify:

1.3 Preferred Theoretical Framework

Do you have a preferred theoretical framework?
[ ] no
[ ] yes, please specify:

1.4 Experience with Electronic Grammars

A. Have you used any electronic grammar writing support system in the
process of writing your grammar?
[ ] no
[ ] yes:
 ( ) Shoebox
 ( ) FDG
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. Would you like to use an electronic reference grammar system in your
future work?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes, for the following reasons:

___________________________________________________________________________
2 Working Conditions

2.1 Linguistic Framework

A. Which linguistic framework has been most influential in building the
background assumptions underlying your grammar?
[ ] none
[ ] the following:
 ( ) Traditional grammar
 ( ) Government and Binding Theory
 ( ) Cognitive Grammar
 ( ) Halliday type functionalism
 ( ) Pikean Tagmemics
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What factors does your choice of a theoretical framework depend on?
( ) on my personal theoretical preferences
( ) on the language under consideration
( ) others, please specify:

C. Would you like your future grammar to be based on
[ ] no theoretical framework at all
[ ] a single theoretical framework, please specify:
[ ] different theoretical frameworks, please specify:

2.2 Linguistic Terminology

What kind of linguistic terminology have you been using?
[ ] terminology based on a single theoretical framework, please
 specify:
[ ] terminology selected from different theoretical frameworks, please
 specify:

2.3 Questionnaire/structure of reference grammar

A. In the writing of your grammar, have you used a of questionnaire or some
fixed structure?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) Comrie&Smith (1977)
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What criteria should a questionnaire meet that you would use in your
future work?
( ) It should be geared toward guaranteeing exhaustivity of the
 description.
( ) It should include some methodological help, i.e. for each
 question some test for the central cases and some differential
 diagnostics for the doubtful cases.
( ) It should contain examples illustrating the phenomena asked
 for in the following object language(s)
 ( ) English;
 ( ) any language that is best suited for the illustration of the
 phenomenon under consideration.
( ) others, please specify:

2.4 Field Manual

A. Have you used any field manual?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) Samarin (1972)
 ( ) Healey (1975)
 ( ) Kibrik (1977)
 ( ) Dixon (in progress)
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What kind of information should a field manual contain that you would
want to use in your future work?
( ) It should recommend optimal strategies or agendas, e.g. 'do
 noun morphology before verb morphology'.
( ) It should recommend different strategies according to
 different project time frames or typological features of the
 object language or other differentiating factors.
( ) others, please specify:

2.5 Terminological Dictionary

Have you used any dictionary of linguistic terminology in the process
of writing your grammar?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) Crystal (1992)
 ( ) Trask (1993)
 ( ) others, please specify:

2.6 Word Lists and Thesauri

A. Have you used any word list or thesaurus in establishing the lexicon of
the language you worked on?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) the Swadesh list
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What should an ideal thesaurus provide?
( ) clear ontological categories
( ) explicit network of sense relations
( ) others, please specify:

2.7 Text Corpus

A. Have you used any text corpus in the process of writing your grammar?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes, and
 a. the collection of the corpus
 ( ) is my own work.
 ( ) is the work of somebody else.
 b. the following text sorts are included in the text corpus:
 ( ) narratives
 ( ) everyday dialogues
 ( ) others, please specify:
 c. the size of the corpus (approximate number of word tokens) is the
	 following (please specify):

B. If you would use a text corpus in your future work,
a. would you prefer to work with an existing text corpus, if available?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes, for the following reasons:
b. would you prefer to compile your own text corpus?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes, for the following reasons:
c. what kind of texts should be included in your text corpus?
 ( ) narratives
 ( ) everyday dialogues
 ( ) others, please specify:

2.8 Recording Tools

A. Did you use any recording tool?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) tape recorder
 ( ) video camera
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What kind of recording tool would you want to use in your future work?
( ) tape recorder
( ) video camera
( ) others, please specify:

2.9 Documentation Tools

A. What documentation tool(s) did you use?
( ) paper and pencil
( ) word processor, especially the following:
( ) special editor including phonetic fonts, especially the
 following:
( ) database template, especially the following:
( ) others, please specify:

B. What documentation tool would you prefer for your future work?
( ) paper and pencil
( ) a word processor, especially the following:
( ) a special editor including phonetic fonts, especially the following:
( ) a database template, especially the following:
( ) others, please specify:

2.10 Phonetics and grammar tools

A. Did or do you use any phonetics or grammar tools?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) f0 extractor
 ( ) spectral analyser
 ( ) interlinear morpheme tagger
 ( ) concordance program
 ( ) parser
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What kind of phonetics or grammar tool would you like to use in your
future work?
( ) f0 extractor
( ) spectral analyser
( ) interlinear morpheme tagger
( ) concordance program
( ) parser
( ) others, please specify:

2.11 Organizing tools

A. Did you use any organising tools like file cards or databases?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) file cards
 ( ) database, especially the following:
 ( ) an organizer
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. What organizing tools would you like to use in your future work?
( ) file cards
( ) databases, especially the following:
( ) an organizer
( ) others, please specify:

2.12 Other Helpful Factors

What other factors have been helpful in the process of writing a reference
grammar?

2.13 Problems

What kind of problems did or do you have which you were not able to solve
in a satisfying way, and what might have helped you?

2.14 Further Support

What further support would you like to have for future grammar writing
projects?

2.15 Possible Drawbacks

What might you prevent from using an electronic reference grammar system?

*2.16 Elicitation Tools

A. Did you use any elicitation tools?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes:
 ( ) picture stories
 ( ) the Pear Story movie
 ( ) others, please specify:

B. Would you like to have elicitation tools for your future work?
[ ] no, for the following reasons:
[ ] yes, of the following kind(s):

*2.17 Standardized Typological Diagnostics

Would you like to have available some standardized typological diagnostics
in order to find out very early the basic typological features of your
language?
[ ] no, because of the following reasons:
[ ] yes, and they should meet the following criteria:

*2.18 Metalanguage

In which language did you write your grammar?
( ) English
( ) Spanish
( ) French
( ) German
( ) Russian
( ) others, please specify:

*2.19 Financial Support

A. How did you finance your work?

B. Would you prefer a different kind of financial support for your future
work (please specify)?

*2.20 Institutional Support

A. Did you have any institutional support?
[ ] no
[ ] yes, please specify:

B. Would you prefer a different kind of institutional support for your
future work?
[ ] no
[ ] yes, please specify:

*2.21 Manpower

A. Did you have any kind of manpower support?
[ ] no
[ ] yes:
 ( ) supervisor(s), and how many?
 ( ) co-author(s), and how many?
 ( ) assistant(s), and how many?

B. What kind of manpower support would you like to have in your future
work?
[ ] none
[ ] the following
 ( ) a supervisor (please specify number)
 ( ) a co-author (please specify number)
 ( ) an assistant (please specify number)
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