Survey on a Shoestring: A Manual for Small-Scale Language Surveys

Blair, Frank

This manual has been prepared to train people with little background in social research methodology. It demonstrates how a sociolinguistic survey can be carried out on a small scale—without access to the sort of funding sometimes available to national language planners—and spells out how those primarily concerned with local languages can learn to make informed decisions about language choice at local levels.

“More than an instruction booklet, Survey on a Shoestring provides invaluable background on bilingualism and language use and attitudes. Readers learn how bilingualism develops and is maintained in different situations, and the implications of this. Several methods for testing dialect comprehensibility are described in considerable detail, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. This book is one of those rare resources that combines academic sophistication with what-do-I-do-next realism. I regard it as a major contribution for the conduct of sociolinguistic surveys in general. I cannot imagine doing survey research in sociolinguistic myself or allowing one of my students to begin a sociolinguistic survey without it.”

Professor Ralph W. Fasold, Georgetown University

About the Author

Frank D. Blair served as a language survey specialist in South Asia. He received an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1982.

Table of Contents:


1. Introduction

1.1 Definitions
1.2 Parts of a Survey

2. Survey Planning

2.1 Initial Research
2.2 Resources
2.3 Planning
2.4 Summary

3. Dialect Areas

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Procedures
3.3 Summary

4. Sampling

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Procedures
4.3 Summary

5. Bilingualism

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Social Characteristics Influencing Bilingualism
5.3 Bilingualism Evaluation Methods
5.4 Summary

6. Oral Proficiency Testing

6.1 Description
6.2 Procedures
6.3 Advantages
6.4 Disadvantages

7. Recorded Text Tests

7.1 Description
7.2 Procedures
7.3 Advantages
7.4 Disadvantages

8. Observation

8.1 Description
8.2 Procedures
8.3 Advantages
8.4 Disadvantages

9. Sentence Repetition Tests

9.1 Description
9.2 Procedures
9.3 Advantages
9.4 Disadvantages

10. Self-evaluation Questionnaires

10.1 Description
10.2 Procedures
10.3 Advantages
10.4 Disadvantages

11. Language Use and Language Attitudes

11.1 Introduction
11.2 Language Use
11.3 Language Attitudes
11.4 Procedures
11.5 Summary

Appendix I
Appendix II

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xiv, 133 pages
Language surveys
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