Collective field work

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For forty years, linguistic fieldwork on the minority languages of Soviet and post-Soviet States has been conducted by members of the Philological Faculty of Moscow State University. The present paper describes the “Moscow approach” to team-based fieldwork, including the history, problems, advantages and disadvantages of this unique venture. The conclusion is that the advantages of collective fieldwork outweigh the disadvantages, but that there are several requirements that must be in place in order for the method to be effective. These include a clear organizational scheme, several available language consultants, and supportive attitudes on the parts of all participants. In recent years, a combination of researcher specialization and cross-training in multiple sub-disciplines has become an increasingly important component of the collective field trips.


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