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Grant number: FN-50041-08

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FN-50041-08

Marguerite Anne Biesele
Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research (Autsin, TX 78713-7855)

Digital Field Documentation, Processing, and Database for Ju/'hoan Texts: Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination

Native speakers of the Khoisan family of languages of southern Africa, with distinctive "click" consonants and complex phonetic features, are rapidly dwindling. The economic status of these people is also low on every scale. Because both factors practically guarantee the disappearance of their languages, authoritative documentation is imperative. The applicant, who has researched and published on the Ju/'hoan language, culture, and human ecology for the past thirty-five years, brings together a team including a computational linguistics assistant and trainees experienced in Ju/'hoan. The project is committed to the "open source revolution" with data housed in interoperating digital archives. Project goals are: to digitize and upgrade already-collected recordings; to carry out timely digital audio and video field research; and to prepare materials for archiving through a process of transcription, annotation, translation, interlinearization, and publication. Project outcomes include: digital archiving of sound and mini-DV video; digital return to communities of materials collected prior to digital technology; and publishing books of authoritative Ju/'hoan folklore and other texts with CD-ROM inserts, allowing the actual sounds of the languages to be heard. The project will substantially increase scholarly materials for Khoisan linguistic research and serve as a vehicle for training indigenous communities in the science and technology for conserving and developing their own language heritage. (Edited by staff)

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Linguistics

Program:
Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 5/31/2009