Why did you Choose Runyambo instead of Ruhaya for your Research Project?

Amani Lusekelo


In this paper, I approach the choice of the language of study for a graduate
research program. In a way, irrespective of the functionalist and generative
warnings, I articulate the rationale for the choice of mother tongue language as
the language of research by linguists. In the article, I caution that absence of
existing research outputs is not a sound reason to allow straightforward
research permit. Further, I point out that the main motivation of the selection
of a research topic could be the contribution to an ongoing research in which
the mother tongue of the researcher is staged to offer good evidence in favour or
rejection of the existing claims available in the literature. This is the tradition
in the scientific inquiry. Furthermore, I argue that comparative works can also
engage the cluster of the languages to which the mother tongue of the
researcher is affiliated. The motivation for the choice of the cluster should be to
examine genetic affiliation rather than to allow the researcher to attract easy
data collection practises. In the end, I open a discussion for more research on
endangered languages of Tanzania, which is an open linguistic research area
left to foreigners to date. However, I argue that an interplay of documentation
and theory should be realised.
Key words: Research, graduate students, language choice, mother tongue,

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