“Doing this kind of linguistics, you do feel like you’re making a difference in the world”
Postgraduate linguistics students learning in the field
Despite the stated importance of fieldwork within the discipline of Linguistics, and the existence of several texts about fieldwork (Thieberger, 2012; Bowren, 2008; Newman & Ratliff, 2001), there is very little literature concerning the experience of fieldwork from tertiary students’ perspectives (see Macaulay, 2012). In this article, the work of four New Zealand postgraduate linguistics students working with fourteen Vanuatu teachers to translate reading materials written in Bislama into seven vernacular languages is documented. Findings indicate that students were motivated to be involved in the fieldwork by a range of factors including travel, altruism, and commitment to the communities and their languages; they drew on and, in some cases, clarified many concepts from their undergraduate studies; and that the fieldwork experiences both allowed them to gain confidence in their linguistic skills and influenced their future studies in linguistics.
Keywords: linguistics, fieldwork, tertiary students, motivation, New Zealand, Vanuatu
Published online: 06 August 2019
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