In Grammatical Description

2024 Workshop in Grammatical Description

Canada Institute of Linguistics is pleased to offer Workshops every summer, currently alternating between a Workshop in Grammatical Description and a Workshop in Discourse Analysis. The next Workshop in Grammatical Description will be held in Summer 2024. You can find the application below.

Workshop in Grammatical Description

The Workshop in Grammatical Description is designed for experienced SIL fieldworkers, though it is open to anyone who could profit from six to nine weeks of focused time working on a grammatical description, with the support and guidance of SIL International linguistics consultants. The ideal workshop participant would be a linguist-translator with one or more years of direct experience learning and doing linguistic analysis of one of the many under-documented languages of the world. An annotated (glossed and translated) digital database of texts of various genres (narrative, expository, hortatory, etc.) is also desirable.

The default goal of the workshop is for each participant or team to produce a 30-page or longer “Grammar Sketch” that gives a brief overview of some key morphological and syntactic features of a field language. This sketch will not necessarily be a publishable paper, but may serve as the basis for a future published work. In addition to, or instead of the Grammar Sketch, participants may want to concentrate on another specific topic of interest, whether or not that topic appears on the workshop outline. The Grammar Sketch will be the focus of the workshop plenary sessions, and after the six-week workshop, consultants and workshop staff will be glad to continue working with individuals who wish to develop their papers (grammar sketches and/or other topical papers) into publishable form.

The Workshop Will Be Organized as Follows:

Plenary sessions: 1 hour a day four days a week. These will involve a combination of lectures by the workshop staff and presentations/discussion by the workshop participants of the work they are doing. Thursday plenary sessions will consist of presentation of material by workshop participants.

Consultant sessions: Each individual or team who is participating in the workshop will be assigned a consultant early on. The team will meet with their consultant for up to one hour each day to discuss progress on the Grammar Sketch.

The rest of the work day will involve individual research and writing.

Insights from many different theoretical traditions may be employed in the workshop where they are useful, principally Cognitive Grammar, Construction Grammar, and Role and Reference Grammar. However, this will not be a workshop on linguistic theory. Theory will only be employed as it proves useful to clear, insightful linguistic description.

We are hoping that many SIL and SIL-related entities around the world will encourage and support field linguists who wish to participate in this workshop, as an alternative or supplement to area or entity level workshops.


  • Linguistics training including introductory morphology and syntax. A minimum of 2 semesters of linguistics courses
  • A corpus of language data to work with

Application & Fees: 

If you are interested in participating in the Workshop in Grammatical Description, please consider the following details and steps:

  • Complete the Workshop application below. The application deadline is March 31, 2024. (Your application will then be reviewed by the facilitator, and CanIL Admissions staff will contact you regarding your potential participation in the workshop.)
  • The Registration fee for Workshop in Grammatical Description is $500 CAD. Accepted participants must pay this fee by April 30, 2024, to confirm their participation in the workshop. (Later payment may be considered for those with extenuating circumstances).


The Workshop in Grammatical Description is not a course for academic credit, and it cannot be applied toward a degree. As part of the workshop, participants do sit in on lectures for LING 560 Morphosyntax II. However, this is for content only, and those enrolled exclusively in the workshop will not receive university credit of any kind. If you want to additionally take LING 560 Morphosyntax II for university credit or as an academic audit, please contact the CanIL Admissions team at for more information.

For further information about the Workshop in Grammatical Description please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you!