Cross-disciplinarity in the documentation work of anthropologists and linguists


  • Thomas Widlok


The starting point for this contribution is that the recent increase in language documentation research has put the inter-disciplinary work of anthropologists and linguists, once again, on the agenda. Recent funding initiatives explicitly foster interdisciplinary work. In times of lean research funding many linguists and anthropologists find themselves in joint projects just as partners may find themselves in arranged marriages or marriages of convenience. In such a context this paper may therefore be considered to be part of marriage consultancy, outlining the productive potentials as much as the potential problems in an attempt to create a stable and at the same time dynamic marriage. This paper is structured as follows: after outlining some of the general advantages and assets of cross-disciplinary work, I will highlight some practical advantages of cross-disciplinarity in language documentation. This will then be followed by some reflections on the problems of cross-disciplinary research in which a discussion of practical difficulties will lead to the outline of problems that are theoretically inspiring and should therefore be considered positive challenges instead of negative obstacles.


language documentationanthropologylinguisticsinter-disciplinaritycross-disciplinarityadvantageschallenges
  • Year: 2005
  • Volume: 3
  • Page/Article: 12-21
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd272
  • Published on 31 Jul 2014
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