Chapter 6. Multiple Functions, multiple techniques: The role of methodology in a study of Zapotec determiners

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Fenton, Donna
determiner; Zapotec; Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec; Mexico; text; temporal marker
book chapter description
Field linguists use a combination of techniques to compile a grammatical description, starting with various types of targeted elicitation and followed by the study of more natural speech in the form of recorded texts. These usual techniques were employed in my work on Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec, an Oto-Manguean language spoken in Mexico, but in an unusual order, with texts, mainly folk tales and life histories told by community elders, being collected and analyzed first due to the priorities of the documentation project I was a part of. This paper examines the role that methodology played in the investigation into one small area of the grammar, a set of noun phrase-final determiner clitics. These clitics make both spatial and temporal distinctions, raising theoretical questions regarding the role of a temporal marker in the NP. At the same time, it brought to light some interesting issues surrounding methodology in fieldwork: how does the method of collection affect the type of data gathered, and does the order in which different methodologies are employed affect the final outcome?