Sample Fieldwork Session: Hungarian

The files on this site are a sample of how some preliminary elicitation might be conducted. This session is like a first field session, in that I have no previous knowledge of Hungarian beyond a short trip to Hungary and what linguists generally know about Finno-Ugric languages. However it is unlike the first session in that I progress much more quickly through vocabulary and into basic structures than I would do if I were actually working on the language. Also, I asked for a story and some sentences, and I would never do that for a first session in a field trip. I did it this way because I wanted to get enough information to have basic sentences so that I could create a database which could illustrate the basic features of what a documentation can look like. We also wanted to create a recording that people could listen to who had never done fieldwork before to see one way that people ask questions and respond to information. It is also atypical of fieldwork sessions in that the “consultant”, Vica Papp, was a graduate student in linguistics at Rice University at the time, and is an experienced fieldworker herself.

Because we created this field session as a teaching demonstration, and not for research purposes, we did not obtain human subjects clearance. However, before the session we discussed exactly what was going to happen and what would happen to materials. A permission form is on file.

This was my plan for elicitation in the session:

  1. Modified Swadesh list
  2. Possession of body parts
  3. Location
  4. Adjectives
  5. Plurals
  6. What I’m doing
  7. Short text (+ say again slowly + translate)

In the end, we did not do most of the plan. We did part of a basic vocabulary list, some possessives (on kin terms), some short sentences, and a short text. [The plan was a ‘wish list’ plan rather than something I had any expectation of completing in approximately an hour.]

The files on this site are the following: