The first surveys were carried out towards the end of May 1931 in Rascafría and Valdepiélagos (Madrid) with the members of the team led by Tomás Navarro Tomás, who at this point, already benefited from his own fieldwork experience in Puerto Rico. Following these first surveys, the field work was usually carried out in pairs and, while one fieldworker (normally Espinosa, Otero or Sanchis Guarner) elicited the phonetic portion of the questionnaire, the other one (Rodriguez-Castellano, Moll or Sa Nogueira/Nobre de Gusmão / Lindley Cintra) looked after the vocabulary.

1933.En las Alpujarras,trabajando para el Atlas.

Lorenzo Rodríguez-Castellano at Las Alpujarras (1933), working on the ALPI. ARC ARC (Archivo Rodríguez-Castellano)

The team got around however they could, normally by public transportation, but in the Castilian zone they were eventually able to use a second-hand Ford.


Lorenzo Rodríguez-Castellano en San Sebastián antes de la guerra con el ford. Foto ARC

Lorenzo Rodríguez-Castellano in San Sebastián with the Ford, prior to the war. ARC ARC (Archivo Rodríguez-Castellano)

In general, the field workers left for a period of time, to carry out a series of surveys, and in each trip they covered several consecutive points. As they progressed, they mailed Navarro Tomas the completed questionnaires, and he would write to them care of the post office in the places where they were going next, sending them letters, permits and at times, money.  It is essential to highlight the fact that the conditions under which the ALPI fieldworkers worked were, very often, frankly difficult.