It’s been a busy start to 2016 for PARADISEC. Nick Thieberger published an article about the race to preserve Pacific Language Records in The Conversation. New collections archived this year in PARADISEC include Danielle Barth’s Matukar Panau documentation from Papua New Guinea, Alan Walker’s Sabu materials from Indonesia, Lila San Roque’s Mnanki, Arso and Duna collections from Papua New Guinea and a large collection (RB5) from Roger Blench, containing a
This week a suitcase of audio tapes will arrive in Melbourne from Madang in PNG. While a lot of the effort of building collections in PARADISEC goes in finding tapes and encouraging people to deposit their recordings, there are some collections that stand out for the amount of work required. This is the story of one of them.
We are working on a collection of tapes made by Mary Ayres, Ph.D. during doctoral research conducted between 1979 and 1981 in numerous dialects from two language groups in the Morehead District, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. At ANU we have started working on Don Kulick’s recordings of Gapun (PNG). In Sydney and Melbourne we … Read more
During September we negotiated with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to assist in digitising their reel-to-reel tape collection. We now have 70 of their tapes in the queue, representing work done in Malakula and in Efate since the 1960s.
Zygmunt Frajzyngier deposited his collection of various African language recordings and they will be accessioned in the near future.
Hidden treasure in the collection
In this item, Tom Dutton is talking with Ken Pike who first coined the notion of ‘etic’ and ’emic’ analysis and who was the first President of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). This recording was made in 1962 about working with Australian languages. You can hear it here (once you are signed in to the catalog).
It has been a busy time for Paradisec over the last couple of months. We now have more than 5,100 hours of recorded material in the catalog and in 2 months alone have added 250GB of data, all of it representing digitised versions of analog tapes.
Recent work on the collection of 200 tapes from the Solomon Islands Museum is nearing completion but, as some tapes have required careful conservation work before being playable, the project has taken longer than expected. The collection was in urgent need of digitisation, not only because of the condition of the tapes, but also because little is known about the contents of the tapes. At least some contain material in Ririo – a language that has only a very small number of living speakers. The availability of digital files will allow the Museum to identify the contents of the recordings. We have also just finished digitising Nancy Carter’s 1960s recordings from the Solomon Islands and Bougainville that came to us two years ago. These three inch tapes were initially unplayable and needed special attention. They are now available online.
PARADISEC continues to grow! In the last year 63 new collections have been added and the archive has grown to 9.04TB with 12,489 items (made up of 73,496 files). We are currently reworking the catalog to make it easier to use.
We have added more items from Stephen Wurm’s (collection SAW4) and Don Laycock’s (DL2) papers.
Added collections include Gavan Breen’s written materials, transcripts and notes of vocabulary and grammar on 49 Australian languages and dialects, mainly from far north Queensland and the central Northern Territory (collections GB01-50). Almost all the languages described are now no longer spoken.
Amidst this joy, deep sympathy to the many people working in linguistics who put in terrific projects that didn’t get funded.
This is the field for Indigenous language work as I see it – if I’ve missed anyone, lemme know.
The map below is built on information produced by a group of linguists working in Vanuatu. It is a sample documentation index that provides a visualisation of what is known about each language. Note that this is not a language vitality index of the kind outlined in Harmon and Loh (2010). Leaving aside thorny questions of what constitutes a language and language name (see Good and Cysouw 2013) and choosing to use a given set of language names (that is not limited to ISO-639-3), this exercise produced a map of the languages of Vanuatu, with each language assigned an index number on a 21 point scale assigning 1-5 points for each of four categories: Grammar; Lexicon; Texts; Media corpus. The icons are colour-coded (white = 0; red = 1-5; purple = 6-10; yellow = 11-15; green =16-20). 54 languages in this list have a zero rating, indicating that virtually nothing is known about those languages.
It has been quite some time since our last update on the contents of the PARADISEC archive. Since our report on this blog two years ago, we have added 88 collections bringing the total to 265 collections. There are now 9,836 items and 60,516 digitised recordings, images and videos in the archive, which is now … Read more
We have great pleasure in announcing that the ARC has funded a Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language over seven years. This project will be led by Nick Evans at ANU with a collaborative team from there, the University of Western Sydney, the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne, and with many partners from other universities and institutions including AIATSIS and Appen.
We want this to be a centre for collaboration, for generating ideas and inspiration for linguistics in Australia and the world. In the New Year we’ll be putting up a web-page to give more information, In the meantime, here’s an overview of what we are planning.