The senior seminar in linguistics (ENGL 498) focuses on field methods in language documentation. During the semester, students work with a language consultant whose native language is not known by any of the students or instructors. The aim of the course is to discover and learn as much about the language's structure without being explicitly taught the language. This experience is similar to that of documentary linguists who work with speakers of undocumented languages to help preserve the knowledge of their speakers. In Spring 2011, the language chosen was Kizigua - a Bantu language spoken by some of the Somali-Bantu refugees resettled in the Boise area. Because this language is undocumented in the linguistic literature, students recorded all elicitation sessions with the consultant. In cases where students worked individually with the consultants, the iPod Touch was used to record audio and video of the session. Additionally, students used the iPod Touch to record interactions between different members of the Zigua community during their service-learning project. In a collaborative project with Dr. Nicole Mulomby's Ear Training course, linguistics students also recorded folk songs in Kizigua and sent the audio recording to Dr. Molumby. Her class, then, worked on transcribing the melodic dictation in Western notation. This transcription of Kizigua folk songs will help preserve not only the language, but also its culture and folklore. This collaboration was not originally planned by the two instructors, but stemmed from the discussions during the mLearning Scholars group meetings.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michal_martinez/37/