Lecture: Fieldwork in Generative Linguistics
One of the major goals of linguistic theory is to account for attested grammars, and at the same time rule out impossible grammars. In order to achieve this goal, we need accurate generalizations about what is (im)possible cross-linguistically, which is why fieldwork on underdocumented languages, guided by theoretical considerations, is of fundamental importance.
In this talk, I report on my own experience doing fieldwork on Kipsigis, a Nilotic language spoken in Kenya. More specifically, I highlight the need for data from Nilotic and other understudied languages, I present my methodology, success stories as well as challenges, and I discuss what theoretical (especially generative) linguists can learn from linguistic fieldwork.