Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ophelia Syndrome

I just realized something about this reading. I think I am paradoxically the most and least prone to this syndrome. Least because I have a long educational history of seeking after learning in different places and being invested in my learning experience, and I have practiced examining problems from different points of view for a long time too. Most, however, because I read and read and read and don't keep up with this learning journal assignment (or other writing assignments) precisely because I don't trust (have confidence in) myself and my own thoughts.
I keep going back to the experts in the books because it's much easier and more interesting for me to be reading than writing. I mean honestly what am I going to write that's worthwhile for others to read? Really. But as Plummer states, experts disagree often too (I don't know about his quantification "more often than they agree," but certainly it's a lot). I'm well aware of this and of the ephemeral nature of "newly discovered" knowledge, but I think I let the uncertainty get under my skin too much. His advice is to "learn to live with the uncertainty"-- I'm not sure how to take that next step.

I could also argue that I have vanquished the Ophelia Syndrome by following his suggestion to make learning more important than the grade, particularly in my field studies preparation class. And I know I have worked ridiculously hard for the knowledge I've gained this semester. But I will have to put his admonition to trust myself to better use before I can believe that I've done well enough. And I will have to learn to live with uncertainty, rather than being too frustrated by the contradictions I see all around me and in my own actions and self-perception.

Source: Plummer, Thomas G. "Diagnosing and Treating the Ophelia Syndrome." BYU Magazine, January 1991.
(available here)

Summary of my progress in the 6 suggestions made by Plummer:
1-Seek Out and Learn From Great Teachers, Regardless of What They Teach. check.
2-Dare To Know and Trust Yourself. got the introspective part down, just not the confidence.
3-Learn to Live With Uncertainty. awareness of uncertainty, check. acceptance, not so much.
4-Practice Thinking from Different Points of View. check.
5-Foster Idle Thinking. hm... maybe one day.
6-Plan to Step Out of Bounds. check. going to Ecuador counts right?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Project Proposal

This one's a doozy. I'm kind of proud of it. My research plan for my project this summer has been a long time in the works and even though it's far from perfect, I think it's a few good steps further in the right direction than my paper from last year. I think having this level of preparation will help propel my work for this project far beyond the last one.

Field Study Proposal: How Performative are Ideophones in Pastaza Quicha?

Statement of Intent

The goal of this project is to investigate performative qualities of ideophones, a category of expressions which are sound symbolic and play a major role in the indigenous language of Quechua. Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language of the Americas, and is described as either a dialect cluster or a family of languages mainly appearing throughout the Andes (Adelaar 2004). I will study the lowland dialect of Pastaza Quichua that is spoken along the Pastaza river in Ecuador. (This dialect is spelled with an “i” because it has no /e/ vowel; an alternative, more phonetic spelling is Kichwa.) Specifically, I want to gather data from consultants to study usage and to measure the performative qualities of ideophonic utterances. These features have been described qualitatively and impressionistically in previous research by Dr. Nuckolls (1996, 2004, 2006, 2010). I plan to seek quantitative evidence for these descriptions using acoustic analysis of sound spectrographic imagery. I also plan to gather more data on usage and meaning in conversation, narratives and other language and analyze gesture as a part of performativity.
This work continues my independent research begun during Spring and Summer terms in 2011 while on a Linguistics Study Abroad Program in Ecuador. During the Study Abroad, I lived at Iyarina Field School on the Napo river with seven other BYU students as well as undergraduate and graduate students from several other universities. There I researched and learned to speak the Napo and Pastaza dialects of Amazonian Quichua under the instruction of Janis Nuckolls (BYU) and Tod Swanson (ASU). At the end of the Study Abroad program I felt I had learned just enough to start doing more and better research on the language, and I had fallen in love with the culture so I determined to return in order to find out more and to improve my skills as an anthropological linguist. I hope that the final product of this Field Study will be a published paper and that the experience will help prepare me to do field work in Linguistics for my postgraduate studies and my future academic career.
I think this Field Study will be a good opportunity for personal growth based on the progress that I made last Summer while in the field. Last year, I became aware of my own limitations in the endeavor to understand a foreign culture and realized that I can never really transcend the bounds of my personal background and experience (e.g. white, american, female, mormon, privileged, college student) in order to fully comprehend the experience of another culture from the inside. I think the context of culture is so critical to capturing the whole picture of language, so this was frustrating for my linguistics work as well as my growing interest in anthropology. At the end of last summer I was left with serious doubts about the ability of research in general to reveal the complexities of life and especially about my ability to contribute meaningful knowledge to the disciplines of Linguistics and Anthropology. Despite my passion for these studies, reconciling this has been a difficult task during the Field Studies Preparation course and I'm glad that it has provided me with the time to prepare and much more knowledge about field work.
This summer in the field I hope to balance my staggering realization from last year with valid inquiry and discovery through the practice of rigorous anthropological methods. Although I was right in my discovery that Truth is elusive and humans are extraordinarily complex and dynamic, I've come to appreciate the value of not only exploring the world but also striving to describe and analyze it to the best of my abilities. I think that there is value in our descriptions and the models of the systems and structures around us, especially when we can gain insight into the perceptions of others and use this to become a more cooperative global society. I also think that we will continue to be able to learn more and do better work even as the world continues to change and reveal more complexity. With the help of many insightful scholars before me, I think that I have a chance to build on previous work and contribute to the elaboration of these theories. I hope that through participant observation and linguistic elicitation I will be able to gain an academic and a cultural understanding that wouldn't be possible otherwise, even though it will at best be approximation of the truth that will capture a brief moment in the history of human experience. Armed with curiosity, thoughtfulness and the rigorous methods of field work I think I will have a rewarding field experience.
I plan to carry out numerous field studies in the future working with minority and endangered languages, therefore I think I have a lot to gain from going to the field independently and conducting research on my own while an undergraduate student. The skills and methods of making contacts, keeping notes, organizing data, and especially synthesizing new meaning from collected data will be fundamental requirements for my future work in the field as well. Further, if the paper I write as a result of this project is published, I will gain experience in the writing and publication process.

Background, Significance and Current Literature

Field Location

This study will take place in and around Puyo, Ecuador, a small town that is the capital of the Pastaza province. This area is in the Eastern part of Ecuador in the lowland Amazonian jungle region also known as the Oriente. There are many indigenous groups in this province including the Canelos Quichua (Whitten 1976), who call themselves Runa and who speak Quichua (or Kichwa, or Runa Shimi 'people's tongue'). Quichua is a dialect related to the highland Quechua spoken in Ecuador and elsewhere in Latin America. This variety is spoken only in Amazonian Ecuador in the provinces of Pastaza and Napo, with further dialect distinctions between the two regions.
Although the Runa people share language origins with the highland indigenous peoples of Ecuador, their culture is much more similar to other indigenous Amazonian peoples, especially the Achuar and Jívaro people in the same area with whom they sometimes trade and intermarry (Whitten 1976). Their culture and worldview is traditionally based on a lifestyle of swidden horticulture, river fishing and hunting in the jungle. However, today many Runa are increasingly participating in the larger cash economy of Ecuador through cash crops and either commuting to town seasonally for work or permanently relocating to towns where there is more work to be found. In Puyo there are many Runa who have migrated from Quichua communities along the nearby Pastaza River, some of whom continue to maintain small agricultural gardens as well as working on other jobs or even artistic endeavors such as painting traditional pottery for sale to tourists (Nuckolls 2010).
The town of Puyo is an appropriate setting for this study because it is the capital of the Pastaza province and therefore has a sizable minority community of Quichua-speaking Runa. I will be able to work well there because I already have a few contacts in the area and have visited the town before, so I am somewhat familiar with the area. Furthermore, the Pastaza dialect is the variation that Dr. Nuckolls has investigated in almost all of her previous research and the purpose of this project is to support her findings as well as explore recent developments in the usage of ideophones among this speaker group. Having studied both the Napo and the Pastaza dialects last summer, it is clear to me that there are enough differences between the two even in the domain of sound-symbolic words (ideophones) to justify special focus on the Pastaza dialect in order to directly compare the data with previous work by Dr. Nuckolls.
A potential challenge of working in Puyo is the fact that unlike in the rural communities of Runa along the Pastaza river, Quichua speakers in this town will be a minority. This means that I will have to work toward cultural immersion within the community while navigating the majority culture as well. Strategies for finding and working within the community are outlined below in the Methodology section. Another potential challenge is the fact that many non-indigenous Ecuadoreans have contempt for Runa and some members of the younger generation choose to disown their heritage because both the culture and language are perceived as primitive (Whitten 1976). It is possible that I will encounter people who are clearly of Runa descent but who would prefer to assimilate into the wider Ecuadorean society and not speak in or about Quichua. However there are still many of the older generation who identify strongly with the traditional culture and are always delighted to hear that an outsider is interested in studying Runa Shimi (“people's tongue,” Quichua), based on my experience. I think that there is also a growing appreciation in Ecuador for indigenous communities, partly due to the fact that American and European tourists often seek a “genuine” experience of the rainforest and its people. This may mean that some people will be more willing to share their culture than they may have been in the past.
According to Tod Swanson (in lecture, 2011) both gender and age of Quichua speakers helps determine their self-identification with Runa culture in complex ways that are currently in the process of change. For example, while older women are often some of the most expressive Quichua speakers and the most knowledgeable about life in the forest, many younger women abandon Quichua for Spanish in order to try to belong to the majority Ecuadorean community and even to be seen as more eligible to date, to continue their higher level education, and to be employed. For these young women, Spanish is the way to opportunity and Quichua is old-fashioned and constricting. While this has previously been the case with many young male Runa, there may be a shift in roles and a return to embracing traditional ways of life and ways of speaking in this demographic. According to Swanson, some young men see the eco-tourists coming through regularly and have realized that their indigenous status makes them more interesting to foreign women, so they may play up their indigenous background in the hopes of financial gain, increased attention or even a potential marriage. Again this embrace of one culture and language over the other is seen as a potential for more opportunities. Although this information is all based on conjecture by Tod Swanson as a result of his casual observation from within the community, it is valuable to be aware of the different ways in which Runa people perceive their identity, their potential ambivalence and their motives for either embracing or rejecting the Quichua language and Runa culture.
It is clear that many factors influence the feelings of Quichua speakers toward their language and culture, but many speakers still identify strongly as Runa and will be willing to aid me in my Quichua research, if my positive experience with speakers last summer is any indicator. Awareness of these factors and different personal relationships with language and culture will help me to be sensitive to the comfort and willingness of consultants to speak Quichua and help me to be a better researcher.

Topic of Investigation

Ferdinand de Saussure, preeminent founder of linguistic studies in the 20th century, proposed the notion that the sign symbol is arbitrary as one of his basic principles of linguistic investigation (1959). He acknowledged the existence of onomatopoeias that keep this rule from being an absolute, but the arbitrary connection between sound and meaning was fundamental to his treatment of language as abstract and unconnected to the physical world. In "The Frequency Code Underlies the Sound-Symbolic Use of Voice Pitch," John J. Ohala uses a wide range of evidence from both animal and human anatomy influencing pitch and intonation to show that there is a correlation between small size and high pitch as well as large size and low pitch (1994). The anatomical correlation also influences behavioral usage of higher pitch in order to communicate the idea of smallness, weakness or submission and lower pitch to communicate largeness, strength and aggression (Ohala 1994). This thorough investigation provides a foundation for further inquiry into the sound-symbolic properties of human speech which take advantage of these processes as well as other properties in creating a subtle and complex system. Ideophones, also called “expressives,” “emotives,” and “mimetics” in the research of certain other languages (Dingemanse 2011) are fundamental to this inquiry.
Ideophones are difficult to define for English speakers because they occur so rarely in English or even other Indo-European languages that they do not usually constitute an entire class of expressions. However they are perhaps most accurately defined by Mark Dingemanse as “marked words that depict sensory imagery.” (p 25, 2011) Ideophones are marked as separate from other word categories in many languages in ways described by the literature, from syntactic and phonological features to the performative qualities that foreground these words and apply most directly to this study. Across different languages, ideophones are often used to depict senses other than sound, including sight (e.g. patterns, movement, color), taste, touch and even states of mind (Dingemanse 2011). However, as Dingemanse points out ideophones must also be defined as a class of words individually for each language in which they are studied as they are marked in distinct ways that are often not crosslinguistic.
According to Nuckolls (2004), the “ideophonically impoverished” state of English and other European languages has inhibited the linguistic investigation of many languages with ideophones because of the bias of the native language of researchers (2010). The closest thing to ideophones that we have in English are onomatopoeias, which imitate the sound of an action using speech sounds (e.g. bang, thwack, or other imitative sounds like moo). However these are usually constricted to narrow contexts such as comic books, cartoons and mother-to-child language, leaving them with a juvenile and simplistic connotation in English (Nuckolls 2010). In English there is also some evidence of phonaesthemes, a combination of phonemes (sounds) on a level below that of morpheme or word which occurs commonly in words related to a similar perception and may be considered iconic (Dingemanse 2011). An example of this would be the words “glisten,” “glimmer,” and “glow,” all containing the “gl-” component and all related closely to the reflection or emission of light.
Despite the scarcity of ideophones in IndoEuropean languages and the historical scarcity of discussion on them in the scientific literature (Nuckolls 2004), ideophones are widespread in the world's languages where they function as a fully-developed class of words and are used in a much wider discourse context than are onomatopoeias in English. As mentioned, ideophones can imitate experiences of the world which encompass the rest of the sensory perceptions as well as that of hearing, so they are broader in expressive utility. They occur in many contexts in Quechua, from personal narratives to historical narratives and even instructions and casual conversation (Nuckolls 1996, 2004). They occur throughout the proposed “discourse area” of lowland Amazonian languages as described in "Discourse Forms and Processes in Indigenous Lowland South America: An Areal-Typological Perspective," and are in fact one of the discourse forms that unites this group of languages which are not genetically related (Beier, Michael and Sherzer 2002). This discourse form is related to the performativity that appears in Mannheim's analysis of dialogue in Quechua narratives (1998; evidence from a highland dialect but relevant to Pastaza Quechua narrative style) and the performative and animistic elements of Quichua culture explored in work by Uzendoski (2005) and Swanson (2009).
Nuckolls argues that ideophones in Pastaza Quichua are “a type of cultural discourse through which speakers align themselves with nonhuman life forms and forces of nature” (2004). This reflects the Runa approach to nature and perception as outlined by Eduardo Kohn, where knowledge is based on firsthand experience and closely aligned with both human and nonhuman life forms of the forest (2005). The use of ideophones in communication invites the hearer to relive an experience along with the narrator, an idea that runs throughout the literature on ideophones (for example Dingemanse 2011). This property gives ideophones an immediate and poetic feeling. Essentially, ideophones are an important area of exploration to understand the relationship between language and perception, human relationships with the natural world and the connection between speech and action as originally outlined by J.L. Austin (1962).
Levinson discusses foreground and background features of language in “Contextualizing Contextualization Cues,” (2003) where he describes some of the ideas of renowned linguist John Gumperz and asserts that prosodic and features and kinesics are more often in the background of a speaker's consciousness, whereas the meaning and content being expressed are in the foreground. Nuckolls argues (1996) that for Quichua speakers, the performative qualities of change in volume, tone, pitch, and duration of ideophonic words (prosody) combined with gesture are foregrounded, in other words they use these features consciously in their “performance” of language in order to invite the listener to participate in the experience being described. This hypothesis of conscious performance is one of the research questions for my investigation as well as I will be seeking further evidence to support Nuckolls' assertion.

Project Significance

Since ideophones are not a distinctive word class in most European languages and especially in English, the literature on ideophones in the past has been impeded by the biases of English-speaking and other European linguistic investigations (Nuckolls 1996, 2004, 2010). Thus there is a need for more in-depth understandings of how ideophones represent the perspectives of distinct cultures and their role in language and metacognition in a wider sense. This study hopes to contribute to this conversation, and to continue to challenge the structuralist viewpoint (for example that of Saussure) that upholds the arbitrariness of the sign.
In addition, Nuckolls creatively uses film terminology in Sounds Like Life (1996) to give an idea of the lifelike properties of ideophones, and I am inspired by this in my plan to show film as part of my study in an effort to recreate some of these lifelike situations in my elicitation method.
In his thesis Dingemanse discusses previous work on ideophones in many separate languages, from Japanese to Bantu languages and even Mon-Khmer languages in the Austroasiatic family, but they are called by different names in all of these works and there is little crosslinguistic work tying all of them together. Dingemanse lays a foundation for discussing ideophones in a way that is broad enough to contribute to crosslinguistic literature on ideophony, while arguing for language-specific descriptions on the meanings and usage of ideophones as well (2011). Thus my research will add to the Quichua-specific description of the usage and meaning of ideophones, and will also be informed by the wider literature on ideophones sound symbolic language.
Dingemanse analyzes prosodic features of ideophones in Siwu in depth and also includes an analysis of gesture in his thesis, remarking that “There is still not much work on the close relation between ideophones and gesture” (p 87, 2011). This study will contribute to the understanding of the relationship between ideophones and gesture as aspects of a speaker's performance and depiction of an event. Janis Nuckolls also analyzes prosodic features in qualitative descriptions in her book Sounds Like Life, (1996) and this study will contribute quantitative analyses of these features as well as further description of how they are used by speakers today to convey meaning, nearly twenty years after the bulk of Nuckolls' field work.
Another worthwhile contribution of this project is the preservation of knowledge that is embedded in the use of ideophones. Ideophones portray a unique perspective informed by the traditional lifestyle of Runa people, and this lifestyle is endangered both by the destruction of the rainforest in which they live and the movement to towns and cities in search of economic stability. Although many Runa are voluntarily moving away from the forest and participating in the Spanish-speaking culture of Ecuador, this pattern endangers not only traditional knowledge of the forest which is no longer applicable in a city lifestyle but also the usage of ideophones. As Nuckolls points out, even in a fully bilingual environment with Quechua and Spanish the lack of ideophones in the prestige language (Spanish) makes them stand out in Quechua and seems to be a marker of its inferiority; therefore it is a critically endangered mode of communication even more than the language as a whole (2010). And since ideophones are so essential to knowledge and expression in Quechua (Kohn 2005), it would be a crippled language without them.
One final area of importance for this investigation in a more holistic sense is the cultural understanding and appreciation that I will gain while in the field. I hope to bring this understanding back and will attempt to communicate the knowledge and appreciation that I gain through my actions as well as through words shared with my peers. Aside from the academic contribution I hope to make to the field of Anthropological Linguistics, I think that my influence on the understanding and thought processes of other U.S. citizens may be the most important area of personal contribution. Of course, this cultural knowledge I hope to bring home to share will only be possible through an effort to treat the people I meet in the field as whole human beings and learn from them as well as sharing my experiences with them.


Once I'm on the ground in Puyo, I plan to stay with Señora Maria D'Alfo in Shell, approximately a five minute bus ride from the town center. Sra. D'Alfo is a contact of Dr. Nuckolls and BYU alumnus Brad Miller, who conducted field work in Ecuador several years ago and stayed at her boarding home in Shell. While I am living with her for the first few weeks or month, I plan to participate in Sra. D'Alfo's community through the bible study sessions she holds and any other social events, as well as attending LDS church and/or Protestant and Catholic church congregations to the greatest extent that I can. There I will seek contacts who speak Quichua and who know about the local indigenous communities. I also have contact information for three or four of the ladies from the Pastaza province who were consultants at the field school last Summer. Some of these women may be at the field school on week days this year as well, but I hope to find other community members to speak with through them and to be able to spend time with them on weekends when they return home. Another area where I may find friends and consultants is in the settlement of Plaza Aray in the outskirts of Puyo, where Luisa Cadena lives with her family. (She is featured in Lessons from a Quechua Strongwoman and a close friend of Dr. Nuckolls; always a delight to speak with.) I also plan to visit the Centro Indígena Ñucanchi Allpa, the museum of indigenous culture in Puyo, to see if anyone there is interested in helping me to learn Quichua or can point me in the direction of other useful contacts. Another possible plan for entry into the Runa community in Puyo include going to the market in town and starting conversations with women selling rainforest medicines or other products.
My consultants will include native speakers of Quichua who are willing to teach me their language. I will try to find adults of all ages to consult and teach me, especially those who have lived in the forest, and will explain that I want to learn Runa Shimi and work with them more. Spanish will be used as a language of contact to supplement my Quichua skills where necessary, based on my imperfect proficiency in Quichua and the consultants' level of Spanish proficiency.
My plan for recruitment is snowball sampling, drawing from contacts I already have and their friends and family as I am introduced to them; I will express my desire to learn their language and I will accept any consultant who wants to help me with this. I will probably work more with women, at least directly and in the beginning, and will recruit and interview men who are members of their household so that I can conduct their interviews in a group setting.
The main procedures in this investigation will include informal interviews and conversation, video clip elicitation, and elicitation of folk definitions of ideophones (Dingemanse 2010). I will speak in Quichua to the best of my ability and will use Spanish with bilingual consultants if clarification is necessary. With monolingual consultants I will speak Quichua and enlist the aid of a bilingual speaker if necessary. The category of informal interviews includes casual conversation in a group setting or individually and the telling of traditional and personal narratives that often occurs in this setting. I may also ask about life in the forest and receive specific Quichua instruction under this category. Informal interviews may occur with each consultant only once or up to ten times throughout the field study depending on the availability of consultants. They may last several hours in a group conversation setting, but no more than one hour for a personal interview. Some narratives and conversations will be audio recorded with prior consent, and at other times I will take notes without recording (i.e. if the consultant feels uncomfortable with the audio recorder or microphone setup). These interviews may occur in public spaces but will mostly be conducted in the homes of consultants during recording in order to obtain better sound quality. These procedures will help to build rapport with the consultants and improve my Quichua proficiency as well as helping me to understand the cultural background of the individuals I'm interacting with.
The video clip elicitation task I plan to do involves showing a short clip of movement, a simple action such as those described by certain ideophones found in Quichua. For example, the ideophone sau describes movement of liquid, so a video of a person pouring water into a glass from a pitcher would be shown. Alternately for the same ideophone, a person being drenched with a bucket of water might be shown and the difference in responses for each will provide more data. After watching each clip I will ask “Imasnara ningi chai,” or “Ima shina chai,” meaning “How would you say/describe this” and “What is this like,” respectively. This task will be conducted only once with each consultant, including up to ten video clips intended to portray between five and ten different ideophones.
I was advised to try this method of elicitation on Dr. Nuckolls' suggestion. In Sounds Like Life, Nuckolls makes the case that ideophones and film are two depictive modes of communication that share a similarity to lived experience, and she uses filmic terms related to composition and movement in her description of Pastaza Quichua ideophones. Since some ideophones are described as having a “close up” effect or with other film terminology, I will try to match the perspective used in the video clip with the meaning of the ideophone as closely as possible. I would also like to use one ideophone for two videos in some cases in order to see which is more successful in encouraging an ideophonic response from speakers. In addition, Tufvesson (2007) has written a description of an ideophone elicitation task performed in Semai (a Southeast Asian Mon-Khmer language) which includes having consultants watch short video clips (about 5s) and listen to sound clips (about 3s) in order to elicit ideophones. The video clips she describes involve different manners of walking, which ideophones are commonly used to describe in Semai, in contrast to Quichua which does not commonly use ideophones for this purpose. However her idea is very similar to the elicitation task described here.
In the field manual for the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Dingemanse describes the elicitation task “folk definitions of ideohpones.” This is my plan for the second type of directed elicitation. This would consist of a half an hour to an hour long interview once with each consultant, the time depending on the speaker's elaboration of the definition. According to Dingemanse, sixty definitions can be elicited in this task in under an hour, but based on my experience with Quichua this sounds high. I will prepare a list of thirty or forty ideophones, but will only expect to get through about twenty in half an hour. It is highly possible that some speakers will not recognize certain ideophones or will not have a definition ready, as ideophones can be difficult to elicit in this language. However, I aim to interview at least ten speakers for this task so that I can gather as much information as possible. The responses to my request for meaning of the word will be video taped in order to provide additional information about how gesture and facial expressions are used to contribute to the performance of the speakers. For all of my interviews and elicitation, having a range of ages and both male and female speakers complete this task will help give me an idea of usage and nuances of meaning in the ideophones as well.

Ethics and Approval

Confidentiality: I will be the only person with access to raw audio and video data in the field, which will be stored on an external hard drive in encrypted format. Physical field notes with personal information will be stored in my locked suitcase with my other belongings and will be converted to electronic format and encrypted with the rest of the data both during the course of field work and after returning home if any is remaining. The physical copies of this information will be shredded upon return from the field. After the study, recordings will be shared with Dr. Nuckolls for her own research and submitted to the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America ( I will retain identifying information about the consultants, along with the rest of the data in a password-protected external hard drive.
Informed Consent: At the first interview, I will explain my project interests and read my consent form in Spanish and/or Quechua depending on the language skills of the consultant. If consultant is monolingual and/or illiterate consent will be obtained orally. If consultant is both bilingual and literate I will obtain written consent as well. Additional oral or written consent for audio and video recording will be obtained when applicable. (See attached IRB protocol in Appendix E for more detail.)*I am not including the appendices here, it's long enough already.
As mentioned above, some Quichua speakers may feel ambivalent or embarrassed about their background and disadvantaged status in Ecuadorean society and therefore may not want to admit to speaking the language or to being Runa in public. I will not pursue any speaker who does not seem comfortable speaking to me in or about Quichua or who is not enthusiastic about working with me, so that they don't feel forced to work with me. In addition, it is made clear in the oral and written consent forms that there will be no negative consequences if a speaker chooses not to participate in the investigation so they are informed of this during the consent process as well.
One way in which I will minimize the risk involved in participating for my consultants is to protect their identity in the use of recorded and transcribed data. In order to maximize the benefit of our interaction for them, I plan to practice reciprocity. A few ideas I have for practicing appropriate reciprocity and showing gratitude toward my contacts and consultants is by helping out at a chagra (garden/agricultural field) any time I get an opportunity, by keeping my room clean at my host family's house and helping to clean the rest of the house if possible, or even by helping to prepare and cook food as I often did last summer. In my previous experience, this provided a good opportunity to interact with my consultants socially and to lessen the distance between my hosts and myself at the field school. I will also offer reciprocity by teaching English lessons to consultants who express interest in learning my language. I think the latter is a very relevant form of reciprocity since I am going into the field with the goal of learning a language from my consultants as well. In addition, if I find one or a few very reliable consultants who dedicate a lot of time to helping me, I may take them out to eat individually and/or buy a nice gift to thank them for their immense help. I hope to be able to practice reciprocity appropriately according to Runa and Ecuadorean culture and will watch for more ideas and opportunities to do so while I'm in the field.


After I return from the field, I plan to submit my paper to the journal Language, published quarterly by the Linguistic Society of America. This society also holds an annual conference in January, which I hope to attend and where I potentially could present my project. I plan to present at the BYU Inquiry Conference and submit my project for publication in the BYU Inquiry Journal as well. Additionally, there may be other conferences of Anthropological Linguistics or American Indigenous languages that I could present at and I will look into this possibility with the help of Dr. Nuckolls upon my return from the field. The completion of this field study will greatly aid me in my application process to graduate and PhD programs, and the skills I gain during this field study will apply to my work in the postgraduate program I plan to enter in the Fall of 2013 after I graduate in April. Beyond that, the skills and knowledge gained from this investigation will help me be more qualified for my postdoctorate plans to continue to conduct field research.
I would like to apply for a Fulbright scholarship during my postgraduate studies in order to do more research abroad, and the emphasis in the Fulbright program is the sharing of multicultural awareness and understanding. In the same way that this program is designed to encourage students to return to their home country and share their knowledge with peers, I hope to return after this summer and to be able to share a sense of cultural understanding with my friends and acquaintances here in the United States. Since I know few people who have been abroad in order to conduct research, I think my ability to communicate this increased awareness to people who haven't had this type of experience may be able to impact those around me positively. Whether they gain a wider cultural awareness from my shared experience or just gain a greater curiosity to find out more and develop an understanding for themselves, I would see this as a success.


I have completed many courses during the past four years at Brigham Young University which will help me in this Field Study. First, I have completed most of my Spanish minor from Span 321 and Span 322 (writing and grammar courses) to Span 339 (literature) and Span 326 (phonetics and pronunciation). I have been studying Spanish since 7th grade and was in an intensive program in high school, completing the higher level Spanish exam for International Baccalaureate my senior year. I have also spent two months living in Madrid, Spain, and two months living in Ecuador last summer which both helped cement my conversational proficiency in Spanish in order to supplement my writing and receptive skills in the language.
I have completed all of the core requirements for my major except Ling 490 Senior Seminar, and I hope to use some of the data from this project for my senior paper. Core courses which apply to this project are: Ling 330 Introduction to Linguistics, Ling 420 Phonetics, Ling 427 Phonology & Morphology. My phonetics course will help me the most in my acoustic analysis of Quichua as a part of this project. I have also taken six courses taught by Dr. Nuckolls: Ling 580R Field Methods: Swahili, Ling 551 Anthropological Linguistics, FLANG 100R Language Study: Quechua, FLANG 305R Language Skills Development: Quechua, Ling 580R Field Methods Research Project: Quechua, Ling 590R Readings in Linguistics. The field methods I began cultivating in my investigation of Swahili and the readings I completed for Anthropological Linguistics and Readings in Linguistic courses have both aided greatly in my current understanding of the process and result of field work. The Quechua courses have given me a foundation for both abstract and conversational knowledge of the language, which I hope to improve upon during this study.
In addition I am currently enrolled in IAS 360 Field Study Preparation, as well as Ling 399R Internship: with Libravox, Inc. The Field Study course has opened my eyes to many of the complex issues that come along with cross-cultural experiences and has challenged me to be fully prepared for both the academic and the practical elements of conducting this field study. For the internship I am using the software program Praat to view sound spectrographic images and complete phonetic transcriptions and analysis of sound files. My practice using this program to analyze voicing, vowel quality and intensity will contribute greatly to the completion of the first portion of my project analyzing the prosodic features of ideophones.
Projects I have worked on that prepare me for this investigation are my research project from last Summer comparing usage of ideophones in the Napo and Pastaza dialects while on Study Abroad in Tena, Ecuador. In addition, I am currently working with Dr. Nuckolls and two other students from this Study Abroad on a paper describing the phonology of Pastaza Quichua, hopefully to be submitted for publication. This project has helped familiarize me with the sound system of the language and has helped me practice comprehension as well from listening to many audio files in research.
One limitation that will affect me in this project is my usual reluctance to speak and practice language. Although I know this is the best way to learn, I am often shy and afraid to make a mistake so I habitually keep my mouth shut instead of trying out my imperfect language skills. However I have also experienced making mistakes as a way to build rapport, and I know from my courses in English teaching (TESOL) that in many studies of foreign language learners, those who speak the most learn more quickly even if they make more mistakes at the outset. I will have to consciously make an effort to practice Quichua while in the field in order to communicate and improve my skills quickly, and since I will be asking people to help teach me the language I think this will help contribute to the solution.
Some of the limitations I will face in the field are attributes that I cannot change, such as being a young white female. This may put me at risk for dangerous situations or at least cause people to make assumptions about my economic resources and my personality that could get in the way of forming relationships on an equal basis with people. Professional conduct and the right attitude will help me form relationships and learn more in this case. The latter problem will be mostly mitigated by being teachable and humble and personable, for example by pointing out that my consultants are the expert on Quichua and I know very little, and by practicing reciprocity and participating in the community so that I can get to know people on a social basis as well as for the purpose of my project. The former problem will be minimized by my own caution in meeting with male consultants alone, where and when I travel alone in the city and even how I dress (i.e. not to attract more attention than necessary).
My familiarity with the area and the local transportation system will help me travel safely and independently since I will be alone instead of with a group this time around. I now know the safe areas of Quito and how the buses and taxis work, approximately what fair prices tend to be depending on distance, and how other people in the area dress so I will be able to blend in and travel confidently despite my foreign status in the country. I was not always successful at bartering in the market or with taxi drivers last year, but I look forward to the chance to improve those skills this summer and to appreciate the different cultural experience rather than being embarrassed about the process of money exchange and the fact that prices are not as fixed as they are here in the U.S.

Faculty Mentor

Janis B. Nuckolls (Mentor Form in Appendix A) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. She graduated with her PhD from The University of Chicago in Anthropological Linguistics in 1990 and with her MA in Linguistics in 1983 from the same institution. She received her BA in Linguistics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981.
While in the field this year I will be taking two courses from Dr. Nuckolls: Ling 580R Field Methods: Individual Field Study Project and Ling 590R Readings in Linguistics: Ideophones. The first course is designed to encompass my project and I will keep in contact with Dr. Nuckolls weekly or biweekly during the summer in order to update her on the progress of the project and ask for advice. The only assignment other than keeping in touch is the final project, but all of my planned methods for data collection will contribute to this course as well. I will plan with Dr. Nuckolls my individual elicitation tasks and seek advice from her as the data collection develops so that I will be able to adapt to the situation with her help. My limited knowledge of working in the field will be greatly aided by her insight from working in the same area throughout her career. The Readings course is designed to give me a better background in understanding the phenomenon of ideophones in the field of linguistics so that I can write about it more knowledgeably as I complete my project, and will include 30 articles related to ideophones with an annotated bibliography as the graded material for the course. As I read these works in the field, it will also contribute to the adaptation of my methodology when necessary.
I will also be taking IAS 397R while in the field, and will communicate with my facilitator Sarah Bowers as well as with Malcolm Botto on a regular basis for this course. There are assignments of daily field notes, several ethnographic tasks and the final project for my other course will also be evaluated for this course. (Course contracts in Appendix B.) Another assignment for this course will be to update my learning journal blog while in the field, which is described in Appendix D.


April 20- Finish putting together initial ideophone list and video clips as well as reading list for Ling 590R.
*on second thought, not going to publish in-field location/time frame details online.
September 24- Coursework and project due. Begin polishing paper for journal submission. Submit data (recordings and any transcripts) to AILLA.
January 3-6, 2013- Linguistic Society of America conference, possible presentation and/or publication.
February- Inquiry Conference presentation and paper submission, hopefully.
January-April 2013- Winter Semester, use of Field Study in my Ling 490 Senior Seminar paper and presentation.


///*details left out here -Total estimate = 3,114 (-ORCA scholarship offsets cost by 1,500 so 1,614 left for me.)

Works Cited

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*if you made it this far you might have unending patience or OCD or something...