Author Topic: Method for documenting specialized lexicon?  (Read 1225 times)

Offline zaba

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Method for documenting specialized lexicon?
« on: April 20, 2014, 12:14:08 PM »
I remember once hearing about the collection of specialized lexicon of e.g. flora/fauna. I can imagine some good fieldwork methods to document such topics because it's very hands-on. But what about methods for more abstract knowledge like religious beliefs and/or cooking procedures? Again, it's easy enough to imagine how to do this on the fly, but I'd be appreciative if anyone could point me towards "best practices" for this sort of task!

Thanks!

Offline Daniel

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Re: Method for documenting specialized lexicon?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2014, 03:34:46 PM »
I have seen the sections on flora and fauna, or even very long appendices in descriptive grammars. There is probably information out there about standard practices, although I haven't seen it personally.

I have not seen anything specifically comparable for the other domains you mention, although of course they would be useful information to record. Here are my three thoughts on the topic, which might be somewhat helpful, if limited:

1. Knowledge of these domains should come along with a general understanding of the culture as you work in it-- as you see the people cook, you will learn about the cooking. Beyond this, these should be very accessible topics because I imagine almost all informants will be excited to tell you about these important parts of their culture, in a way that might not apply for many linguistic domains such as syntactic details or color terms.

2. Where I have seen information like this is in the short narratives/texts included (and usually glossed/translated) at the end of descriptive grammars. They are rarely then annotated with cultural information or discussion, but I suppose you could do that (or just include them as texts).

3. I would suggest looking into anthropological, ethnographic and other research that deals with culture, rather than looking at this from a linguistic perspective specifically. Those fields are more concerned with the topics you mentioned, while in general there is significant overlap in terms of an interest in lexicography. I have seen several articles of this sort (it's not my field; I've happened upon them) by researchers doing linguistic fieldwork who want to comment on aspects of the culture.
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Offline zaba

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Re: Method for documenting specialized lexicon?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 04:40:23 AM »
Sure, of course it involves many disciplines -- but isn't there some basic method for generating a lexicon?