Survey of Cia-Cia and closely related languages of southern Buton Island, Indonesia

David Mead & Christina L. Truong (2021)
Paper in Sulang Language Data and Working Papers: Survey Reports, Sulawesi Language Alliance.

This paper presents the results of a dialect survey of the Cia-Cia language of southern Buton Island in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. This survey also encompassed the closely related Kumbewaha and Lasalimu languages, that is to say, all three languages belonging to the Butonic branch of the Muna-Buton group of languages. The principal results of this survey are as follows: (a) the Cia-Cia language comprises two primary dialect areas, a western dialect and a central-eastern dialect complex; (b) the small (and previously undocumented) Wasambua lect is recognized as a third, outlier dialect; (b) Kaisabu is elevated to the status of a separate language; (c) Kumbewaha is more dialectally complex than has hitherto been recognized; (d) the unity of the Butonic subgroup within Muna-Buton is confirmed.
Link to paper

Documentation of Baduy

Research assistantship for Documenting the endangered Indonesian language of the Baduy Dalam (NSF-supported project). August 2020 – July 2022.

This project is an international collaboration with researchers at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, teaming up to document the language of the Baduy Dalam ‘Inner Baduy,’ a small group of about 1170 living in a remote area on the island of Java in Indonesia. The team will record natural speech (narratives and conversations) and lexical items to produce an audio and video transcribed corpus of Baduy Dalam speech, a dictionary (with special focus on culturally distinctive concepts), and a grammar sketch. Materials are archived at Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, where they will be accessible to other researchers and the general public. Broader impacts include producing print and video materials for direct use by the Baduy as linguistic and cultural education resources.

Responsibilities include: Archiving, data management, transcription, lexical database design & management.

Language documentation with the Semai community

Bilinski Educational Foundation Grant. Summer 2019.

Semai is an indigenous language of Pennisular Malaysia which remains underdocumented and underdescribed despite its relatively large number of speakers. Alongside community members, recordings of vowel contrasts, wordlists, personal and traditional narratives, and elicitation with and without stimuli were produced. Materials to be archived in Kaipuleohone Language Archive.

Alaska Native Place Names

Research assistantship for Collaborative Research: Linking Maps, Manuscripts, and Place Names Data to Improve Environmental Knowledge in Alaska Project (NSF-supported project). Spring 2019.

This project will compile a geographic database linking place name data found on historic Alaskan maps, manuscripts, and within oral histories and printed materials. The project framework integrates full GIS capabilities with multilingual audio, video, and text to reveal connections between named places and socio-ecological dimensions of landscape, including knowledge of local ecosystems and cultural values, adaptation and resilience.

Responsibilities include: Editing and management of geolinguistic datasets, preparation of data. Building and configuring online atlases using Nunaliit, an open source atlas framework running on Linux OS.

Browse a sample atlas from the project.

Languages of Sulawesi

Bilinski Educational Foundation Grant. Summer 2018.

Many indigenous languages of Sulawesi remain underdocumented and many more are underdescribed. Despite this, the languages of Sulawesi may be key to understanding important linguistic issues in the region, such as the nature and development of Austronesian voice, and the prehistory of Indonesia. In partnership with local organizations and community leaders, recordings were made of native speakers in two language communities of Sulawesi. Materials to be archived in Kaipuleohone Language Archive.

Participatory methods for language documentation and conservation: Building community awareness and engagement

Christina L. Truong and Lilian Garcez
Article published in Language Documentation and ConservationFeb 2012.

This paper describes three participatory methods to engage communities in research, planning, implementation, and evaluation of language programs for their own benefit. In the first activity, participants build a map of language variation, intelligibility, and language attitudes in their community. In the second activity, patterns of bilingualism among demographic subgroups are diagrammed and analyzed by the community. In the third activity, the community creates a diagram of their language use in various domains. Several pilot tests of the methods were conducted with minority language speakers in Malaysia and Indonesia. Using participatory methods creates an opportunity for the community to participate in, shape, and own collaborative initiatives for their language.
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