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Towards a coherent methodology for the documentation of small-scale multilingualism: Dealing with speech dataPurpose: To contribute to the establishment of a novel approach to language documentation that includes bilingual and multilingual speech data. This approach would open this domain of study to work by specialists of bilingualism and multilingualism. Approach: Within language documentation, the approach adopted in this paper exemplifies the “contemporary communicative ecology” mode of documentation. This radically differs from the “ancestral-code” mode of documentation that characterizes most language documentation corpora. Within the context of multilingualism studies, this paper advocates for the inclusion of a strong ethnographic component to research on multilingualism. Data and Analysis: The data presented comes from a context characterized by small-scale multilingualism, and the analyses provided are by and large focused on uncovering aspects of local metapragmatics. Conclusions: Conducting language documentation in contexts of small-scale multilingualism requires that the adequacy of a corpus is assessed with regard to sociolinguistic, rather than only structural linguistic, requirements. The notion of sociolinguistic adequacy is discussed in detail in analytical terms and illustrated through an example taken from ongoing research led by the authors. Originality: To date, there are no existing publications reviewing in the detail provided here how the documentation of multilingual speech in contexts of small-scale multilingualism should be structured.more »
In the wake of widespread and ongoing travel restrictions that began in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many documentary linguists worldwide shifted to remote work methods in order to continue or, in some cases, begin new projects. This pandemic situation has prompted questions about both methodological and ethical considerations in doing remote fieldwork. In this paper, we discuss the pros and cons of working remotely and discuss ways of working remotely based on our experiences working on projects in West Africa, northwest Amazonia, and Indonesia. We argue that elements of remote fieldwork should become a permanent part of linguistic fieldwork, but that such methods need to be considered in the context of decolonizing language documentation and centering the community’s needs and interests.