Back to listing

Language Documentation project funding announced for 2020

Date: 12 May 2020

The following projects have been awarded funding in this year's Language Documentation project funding round: 


Local vs Long-distance processes: Nasals and Nasalization in Arabana

Mark Harvey, University of Newcastle

This project aims to advance understanding of sound structures in Australian languages and more generally. It has long been recognised that sounds which are next to one another influence one another, but in different ways in different languages. We have limited information on how adjacent sounds influence one another in Australian languages. Arabana has some unusual patterns with nasal sounds. Phonetic investigation allows us to evaluate potential analyses. The project will work with the last fluent speaker of Arabana to record and analyse new materials on nasals and their environments, providing better materials to both the Arabana and research communities. 


Extending the documentation of Pa’umotu dialects

Marie Duhamel, Australian National University

The aim of this project is to add to the documentation of endangered and little-documented Tuamotuan dialects, known as reo Pa’umotu. New material will be collected in the archipelago, transcribed and translated. Recently digitised material collected in the 1980s in four of the nine dialects will also be transcribed and translated. This project involves the training and participation of native speakers of Pa’umotu in annotation tasks. It also contributes to the inception of a contemporary Pa’umotu-French bilingual dictionary, in collaboration with the Pa’umotu Academy. All collected and transcribed material will be deposited in local digital archives and PARADISEC.


Documenting the language and culture of Indonesian Bajau communities in North Sulawesi

Timothy Brickell, University of Melbourne

People known as the Sama-Bajaw, Orang Suku Laut, or 'Sea Gypsies / Sea Nomads', have historically lived large parts of their lives at sea while fishing and free diving for a living. While traditionally found in a region spanning multiple nation states (Malaysia, Indonesia, and The Philippines), many of these communities have now settled, or are being forcibly resettled, into land- based villages. As a result, the linguistic vitality and traditional cultural practices of these communities are under serious threat. This project aims to document aspects of language and culture in three Bajau communities in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Building a corpus and a comprehensive trilingual dictionary of Western Yugur

Yaris Xueqing Zhong, Australian National University

Western Yugur is an endangered language which is spoken by around 2,000 people in north-western China. This project works with the Yugur community to transcribe, translate and annotate some Western Yugur early recordings made in the 1980s; and compare some historical documentation with more recent video and audio recordings, especially some folk songs and stories, including commentaries on Yugur traditional clothing. This project will not only enable the recordings to be made available for analysis and corpus work, but also use the corpus to further compile the first Western Yugur-Chinese-English online dictionary for community members and researchers.


Acoustic description and prosodic conditioning of vowels in Drehu and Lifou French

Catalina Torres, University of Melbourne

Young generations in Lifou grow up as bilingual speakers of Drehu, an Oceanic language, and Lifou French, an emergent variety. Two previous accounts of Drehu have phonologically described its vowel system. However, no acoustic data was reported and there is disagreement on the IPA-symbol for two vowels. Lifou French is a largely undocumented variety. This project seeks to provide a first acoustic account of the vowel systems in the two languages of this community. Additionally, it investigates the relationship between vowel quality and duration relative to prosodic structure. The results of this study will provide an up-to-date documentation of two vowel inventories.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University