Interview Improvisation

As demonstrated in the story below, language surveyors usually encounter the unexpected, and must be flexible! This is not considered a problem- it is one of the aspects of surveying that makes it so joyful!

“During the Pangwa survey in southwestern Tanzania we went to a village to do individual interviews. We had already randomly chosen the participants a couple of days early with the help of the village leader and now came to actually talk to these individuals. When we arrived we were told there was a funeral. Actually, it turned out not to be a funeral but the celebration of putting down a stone on the grave one year after the actual funeral. Everybody was there eating and celebrating. So we were invited and got plates of food and with our food walked around finding our individuals and interviewing them in a much more social setting than usual.”

Decker, Ken, and John Grummitt. Understanding language choices: a guide to sociolinguistic assessment. Page 226. Dallas, Tex: SIL International, 2012. Print.

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