Navigating the multilingual field: Language choice and sociolinguistic fieldwork
In this chapter we reflect on researcher and participant language choices in two research projects in East Timor. Our stories show how, in this multilingual setting, these choices were predominantly symbolic and had little to do with practicality or proficiency in any given code. Our stories also illustrate some of the challenges and rewards of working in a complex multilingual field. This chapter focuses on researcher and participant language choices in two research projects in East Timor. East Timor lies at the far eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago in the Lesser Sunda Islands. It was colonised by Portugal for some 400 years and, more recently, occupied by Indonesia, achieving formal independence in 2002 after a period under United Nations transitional administration. For a country of its size, the linguistic diversity of East Timor is remarkable. The country's multilingual heritage reflects its geographical location between Southeast Asia and Oceania and its experiences of colonialism. In East Timor there is a sharp divide between the largely transient foreign community and the local resident one, a situation typical of many countries in the Global South. People often say that the past is always present in East Timor and nowhere is this saying truer than in language policy discourses.
Doing Research within Communities
Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified