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Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics

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Context! Or how to read thoughts in a foreign language

Bettina Zeisler
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  • Asien-Orient Wissenschaften, Abt. für Indologie und Vergleichende Religionswissenschaft, Universität Tübingen, Keplerstr. 2, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
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Published Online: 2016-08-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2016-0010


Based on personal experience during long term fieldwork in Ladakh, this article will discuss a special technique for field research. It will emphasise the need to access the speakers’ creative unconsciousness by applying the time-consuming ‘ping-pong game’, that is, by confronting every speaker with real language data, by rechecking each speaker’s statement with at least one other speaker, and by feeding back evaluations from a second or third speaker to an original speaker and back in an almost endless repetition. A special focus here will be on the collection of compounds showing the phenomenon of consonant migration and on data gathering with respect to verb semantics and verb valency.

Keywords: fieldwork; hidden context; accessing unknown features of a language; consonant migration; verb semantics; Ladakhi


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-08-26

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 197–221, ISSN (Online) 2196-078X, ISSN (Print) 2196-0771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2016-0010.

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