Certificate Language Documentation and Linguistic Analysis

Are you interested in linguistics and want to learn how linguistic and cultural diversity can be recorded and documented? In the applied and interdisciplinary program "Language Documentation and Linguistic Analysis", which is dedicated to the creation of resources for the languages of the world, you will learn how to investigate languages from different parts of the world and how to create linguistic multimedia archives. In recent years, new digital methods have been developed in the field of language documentation, which has also resulted in new employment opportunities. This goes hand in hand with the current awareness for the preservation of the cultural heritage of mankind, which is expressed in many initiatives of international organisations such as Unesco and various national/international foundations.

Work experience/practical section: A practical section is part of the programme, in particular relating to the creation of language archives.

Degree Certificate "Language Documentation and linguistic analysis"
Regular duration 2 semesters
Start winter term
Teaching language English or German (cf. course descriptions)
Registration You may register online via FlexNow for each of the required modules. A background in linguistics at the level of a (successfully completed) „introduction to linguistics” is required.

This program introduces basic skills for the work with understudied languages, which is required for language documentation projects or projects with a substantial fieldwork component:

  • acquiring basic knowledge of the object language, the socio-cultural environment in which the language is spoken, a basic understanding of its linguistic structures at all layers of grammar (phonology, morphology, and syntax),
  • learning tools for data collection, transcription, and linguistic annotation, and
  • creating an independent project that answers a relevant linguistic question with respect to the language at issue.

This program is integrated to the projects, exchange programmes and research activities at the Institute for Linguistics, such that students are integrated in a real research environment and have possibilities to exchange with international cooperation partners, experts on various languages, and students of other universities. It is eligible by all students of the university of Göttingen; it is particularly appropriate for students of the philologies that have (at least) some elementary background in linguistics and want to apply their linguistic skills to the investigation of understudied languages. For BA and MA students of linguistics, this certificate offers a specialization to an area of interest and skills in tools for data collection and annotation.

The program contains three modules (6 C per module: total 18 C), each containing a course (2SWS):

modules in a nutshell

nr module description
SPW.011/021 Foundations in the Object Language
SPW.012/022 Linguistic Analysis and Annotation
SPW.013/023 Linguistic Research Project and Certification Exam

Foundations in the Object Language

Basic knowledge of the object language, including basic skills in reception and production of oral/written communication; understanding the language situation: social, cultural, and ethnological conditions of the language community; knowledge of the available sources for the study of the language (data, resources, and descriptions).

Linguistic Analysis and Annotation

Knowledge of the grammatical structure (phonology, morphology, and syntax) of the object language, overview of the available linguistic research, methods of transcription and annotation of linguistic data, basic transcriptions (phonological transcription and glossing), use of tools for linguistic fieldwork and language documentation (e.g., FLEx and ELAN), techniques for archiving linguistic data, current conventions for publishing linguistic data.

Linguistic Research Project and Certification Exam

Research project on the object language, application of the knowledge about the language and the analytical techniques of modern linguistics to test relevant linguistic hypotheses, with data elicitation or corpora or field experiments, creating a scientific report of a research project.

Grico (2020-2021)

Grico is a dialect of Greek, spoken in Apulia and Calabria (next to Greco, which is spoken in Salento). We had the great opportunity to host a course by Freedom Pentimali who introduced the language and the language situation with online meeting, directly from Aspromonte. The linguistic background was backuped with a course on historical Greek morphology, giving an overview of the core developments of Greek inflection from Classical Greek into the Postclassical and Medieval time, including the variation between Modern Greek dialects. The research project was created within a course on space and syntax.

Georgian (2021-2022)

Georgian is a Southern Caucasia language, belonging to the Kartvelian language family and spoken in Georgia. Georgian has various challenging properties at various layers of grammar: a particularly complex syllabic structure with rich onsets, polypersonal verbs, split ergativity determined by tense, etc. The certificate program contained a language course on Georgian by Diana Kakashvili (Tbilisi), a course on the languages of Anatolia, Caucasus, Iran, Mesopotamia collaboratively taught by people of the LACIM network, a course on morphological fieldwork that contained a section on studying Georgian morphology with corpus data, and a project course in which students could develop their own research with the available data.

Ideas for future languages

Ideas for future topics within this program. The language of the program depends on the running exchange programs, scientific projects, and available cooperation partners, such that this programme creates possibilities to integrate students to the research activities of the institute. The examined languages represent different language situations, offering an insight to various socio-cultural environments:

  • Yucatec Maya (Maya, Mexico)
  • Dan (Mande, Côte d'Ivoire)
  • Anyi (Kwa, Côte d'Ivoire)
  • Endangered languages of Southern Europe with special focus on Pomak (Slavic, Greece)
  • Mesomerican languages with special focus on Cabécar (Chibchan, Costa Rica)
  • Eastern Armenian (Indo-european, Armenia)
  • Multilingualism and Urum (Turkic, Georgia)
  • Tocharian (Ancient Indo-European, China)

You can directly select the modules that are part of the certificate programme as key qualifications: SK.SPW.011, SK.SPW.012, SK.SPW.013 (a second series, SK.SPW.021, SK.SPW.022, SK.SPW.023, is offered for students who wish to complete the certificate for a different language). Lecturers will offer further information about the tasks needed for each module.

The certificate is issued after successful completion of the required modules. The certificate has the title "Language Documentation and Linguistic Analysis" and a subtitle about the language at issue.