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Stories and Songs from Kagate – illustrated picture book

This book is an illustrated collection of stories from the documentation of Syuba (Tibetic, Nepal). The illustrations were made by Ng Xiao Yan as part of an ongoing project at NTU Singapore to connect students in the School of Art, Design and Media with people working on language documentation. The illustrations are beautiful, I’m still in awe of how well she captured features of Syuba life.

From the introduction:

This book contains stories and songs  om Kagate speakers. The original recordings were made in 2014 with a number of Kagate people. Some of these stories are traditional folk tales, and you will see that many of them involve animal characters. Some of the stories are personal experience stories. We also have the texts of some songs written by Kagate people. Kagate people want to share their language and their culture with the world.

The recordings of songs and stories were made as part of a project by Joan Kelly and Lauren Gawne, funded by Nanyang Technological University for “the development of artistic and participatory means of recording, writing and transmitting the stories and knowledge of Kagate, an endangered language of Nepal”. This project also funded the illustrations by Ng Xiao Yan, transcription work and other production costs. Further work on the volume, including Nepali translations by Rinchen A. Lama, was funded by the project “Documenting and describing Kagate, an endangered Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal” run by Lauren Gawne and funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Project. The original recordings can be found online at The Endangered Languages Archive at SOAS. Thank you to Ningmar Tamang, who worked on the  nal text. Thank you also to Emily Gref for editorial and technical assistance and The Firebird Foundation, Awesome Foundation and Stack Exchange for funding an initial period of work with the Kagate community.

View a digital copy of the book 

Purchase a print-on-demand copy (each copy purchased pays for a copy to be printed for)

Stories and Songs from Kagate. 2017. Publisher: Lauren Gawne, Illustrator: Ng Xiao Yan,  Editor: Ningmar Tamang. ISBN-13: 978-1546846475

The original tellings of the stories, and the illustrated book, are also available through the Syuba archive at Paradisec:

Original recordings:

Tiger and Jackal SUY1-140127-13


Misunderstood Children SUY1-140126-09


Kabire’s Song SUY1-140127-04


Crows SUY1-140128-02


Jackal SUY1-140128-03


Travelling Song SUY1-140128-05


Bear Stories SUY1-140129-02


Family Song SUY1-140128-04


Picture book:


This content originally appeared on Superlinguo in this post by Lauren Gawne. Lauren is an ELDP grantee who has deposited with both Paradisec and ELAR

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