Where Do We Need to Go From Here?



Two Community Highlights From the Endangered Languages Archive

Today on the ELAR blog, we are sharing two community highlights from collections which have been funded by ELDP. Community highlights relate to the impact of the documentation on the welfare of the communities and cover a variety of aspects of the documentation projects.

From Isabel Compes’ project ‘Zaghawa-Wagi: Towards documenting the Sudanese dialectal variant of Zaghawa’ in Sudan:

There is a group of young people (6 men and 1 woman) who founded a new association, the Zaghawa Cultural Center (ZCC). The center is intended to preserve the culture of the Zaghawa people. The contacts have been arranged by the research assistant Elsadig Omda Ibrahim Elnur. There has been a meeting with the head of Department of Linguistics Abeer Bashir and Angelika Jakobi at the University of Khartoum (Oct. 2015, unfortunately after the field stay of the depositor Isabel Compes). Angelika Jakobi made the Kube grammar available to them (Jakobi & Crass 2004). The activities of the center show the deep preoccupation of the Zaghawa community with the endangerment of their culture. Documenting their language is one first step in this direction. -Isabel Compes

From Tucker Childs’ and Jedd Schrock’s project ‘Documenting the Sherbro language and culture of Sierra Leon’:

What is tremendously exciting to me is the enthusiasm with which the local community has embraced the project. The support has extended from the Paramount Chief of Kagboro Chiefdom in Shenge down to people in the inland villages of Moyeamoh and Motanga, many of whom are featured in the videos of village life. PC Madam Lenga has welcomed the project and provided us with important introductions to the leaders in the community, especially to those interested in documenting and preserving the language.

One very exciting development was my ability to engage private support for “One Million Lights“, a Silicon Valley-based institution dedicated to providing solar-powered lighting for rural school children. I solicited contributions to buy the lights and distributed them with the aid of the principal in Shenge (Kagboro Chiefdom) through the local school at the research site. We did so on the basis of school performance. I had originally insisted that at least half go to school girls, but it turned out that the girls were already the better performers in the school and received well more than half of the lights. The whole undertaking was a great success. Although the distribution was not so well organized in Chepo, we were also able to provide the school children with the lights. -Tucker Childs

To learn more about these projects and other projects archived at ELAR, visit the ELAR catalogue, found here.