Semantic fieldwork at a distance


  • Meghan Lim


linguistic fieldwork, elicitation, remote data collection, video conferencing, computer-mediated communication


Contemporary approaches to conducting linguistic elicitation with remote speakers are discussed, with an emphasis on research into linguistic meaning. I believe such methods will make for a growing part of the work of linguistic fieldwork in the 21st century, either by necessity or by choice. This paper discusses various technical and methodological options and their tradeoffs, and discusses different approaches in terms of the forms and degrees of shared linguistic and non- linguistic information that they offer between researchers and speakers. Concretely, two models for remote elicitation that have been successfully employed in our lab, allowing for continued empirical work during the Covid-19 pandemic, are described. I advocate for individual researchers to reflect on their data collection goals, technical constraints, and relationships with speakers in order to identify appropriate remote elicitation techniques.