This work was first published in three volumes in French in 1971 (followed
by a second edition in 1976), under the auspices of the Societe d' etudes
linguistiques et antropologiques de France (selaf). It is presented here
in English in one volume.
The first book evolved because of a felt need by the authors for a
methodology of linguistic research techniques for young researchers doing
fieldwork for the first time. The first section, consisting of some basic
aspects of gathering and processing data from unwritten languages,
developed from a course given by Luc Bouquiaux at the Session of African
Linguistics in July 1969 at the Faculte des Lettres of Aix-en-Provence.
Volumes two and three of the original work consist of questionnaires, with
accompanying pictures, which are exhaustive in the coverage of terminology
of linguistic categories as well as other categories such as time
expressions, currency, measures and accounts, medicine, ethnozoology,
ethnobotany, kinship terms, and many others. These areas all need
investigation since, from the point of view of the authors, "language is
equally an instrument of communication and an expression of a social reality."
It is hoped that the English translation will be found to be as
indispensable a working tool of field research to current-day researchers
as the French volumes have been to fieldworkers over the past couple of