Field stations for linguistic research: A blueprint of a sustainable model

Maria Polinsky

There are often practical barriers to doing fieldwork in a novel, remote location. I propose a model for linguistic research designed to overcome such barriers: a linguistic field station. It is a centralized facility that coordinates scientific research by providing (i) research infrastructure, (ii) access to specific social, biological, or ecological systems that are not immediately available otherwise, (iii) training for students at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and (iv) access to local communities with the goal of obtaining data from them as well as training local specialists. Field stations are particularly important for research on and documentation of Indigenous languages, including contexts where colonial languages are supplanting Indigenous ones. Although the field station model is not new in research outside of language sciences, it has not yet been utilized widely in language research. I describe how the proposed model has been implemented in Guatemala and compare the field station there with other linguistic field stations.