In the ethnography of the game world, a scout is somebody who learns about a culture by interacting with it.
Discovering languages of the game world can parallel discovering languages in the real world.
- The basics
- How to get a foothold in a language community
- How to determine what is grammatical
- Johanna Nichols of UC Berkeley described some guidelines for how much coverage is enough to document a language.
- Minimal coverage: To cover most morphosyntactic patterns, collect 2000 clauses, or at least 1000 clauses whose main verb is not be or whatever else is most common.
- Basic coverage: At least 100,000 words spoken by one individual to make a 4000-headword field dictionary of the majority of the individual's active vocabulary, and preferably collect this for more than one speaker. At 5000 to 6000 words for hour, this covers at least 17 to 20 hours of recorded speech. Follow-up elicitation improves coverage with a smaller corpus much as chosen plaintext and ciphertext do in cryptanalysis.
- Good coverage: Repeat basic coverage for 10 speakers, preferably from different backgrounds and demographics. Try to compete all closed classes, the Swadesh list, the top 1000 words, body parts, kinship, food, clothing, and shelter.
- Excellent coverage: Repeat basic coverage for 100 speakers, and keep expanding the dictionary. After this comes diminishing returns.
|Behind the scenes information|
The game world is fictional. The scouts are characters played by the wiki users who create the setting. One user asks a question on a talk page, a second conjectures a plausible answer, and a third may reword the article to incorporate elements of the answer and how it was discovered in-universe.
The term "scout" ultimately comes from a nickname given by an Animal Crossing: Wild World NPC to a wiki contributor's character. See "Chester's story". (A Cracked writer appears to disagree with that naming sense, however.) Write stories about your own fieldwork if you want.
- Johanna Nichols. "E-MELD School of Best Practice: How many words do you need?". EMELD, 2005-01-18. Accessed 2013-02-03.
- Jlovegren. "Answer to What sort of criteria are used to deem a language description complete?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2012-10-14. Accessed 2014-02-03.
- J. F. Sargent. "5 Bizarre Ways Politics Influences Your Personal Life". Cracked, 2014-05-06. Accessed 2014-05-06.