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The Australian National University


Intensive community language documentation workshop: Kupang, Timor, 2012

In July 2012 an intensive language documentation workshop was organised in Kupang, the capital of West Timor. From the ANU Katharine Gosling, Mark Donohue and Owen Edwards attended, travelling to Kupang with Dan Kaufman, and meeting up with Chuck Grimes to work with about twenty native speakers of local languages.

The official title of the workshop was Melestarikan Pengatahuan melalui Merekam dan Menulis Bahasa-Bahasa Local (Preserving Knowledge through Recording and Writing Local Languages). For two weeks we trained language speakers to document their languages (including metadata and recording conventions, use of equipment, transcription, translation, glossing, keyboarding), and at the end we had produced 25 hours of recorded, transcribed and translated materials.

We worked with speakers from a number of language groups:

  • Amarasi: Interview with Heronimus Bani, Oma's Introduction, "Meto" (Play on words)
  • Dhao: Interview with Inai, Story about Pig and Tripang, The Journey from Kupang to Ndao, Manahi denge Hahi (folktale), Swadesh list, Short story, Dhao Weaving, Susuek Weaver, Susuek Silversmith
  • Galolen: Swadesh list, Mysterious story, Story, Manatuto 1974-99, Li Akasan (story), Story 2, Leki Sao Modok, Androcles. Balanda Sia Mamori Hatin
  • Hawu: Buku Binatang Bahasa Hawu, Alat Penenun (weaving apparatus)
  • Helong: How to make "kue bungkus" (wrapped cake), The History of PNIEL Church, Helping someone give birth, Local languages in the school, Ejekan (Teasing), Swadesh list, Khotbah (Sermon), Pantun poetry, Interview of Semau, Swadhesh list (Semau dialect), Discussion of a traditional marriage ceremony, Sayings, Dialect discussion, Story, Poetry
  • Mambai: War Stories, Wordlist, Song, Au said ois Dili (Story), Introduction, Language Vitality
  • Rikou (Rote): Helo "Tidak ada kemepurnaan di dunia" (traditional song), Helo "Pada saat pukul gong" (traditional song), Helo "Jangan mendua hati" (traditional song), Sayings and song, Story, Nona Kedoh-Jacob introduces herself, Song, Visiting a friend, Nusa Rote Dua Funi (song), Introducing Rote, Swadesh list (Paulus Nako), Swadesh list (Mama Nona)
  • Tii (Rote): Tii Cerita, Tii Hidup di Kampung, Tii Introduksi, Tii Song, Lestari, Mama Ena Vonis, Ghost Story, Comparing marriage ceremonies
  • Uab Meto: Stone Man story, Funny story (Amanatun dialect), Story, Funny story (Amanuban dialect), Introduction, Pantun (poetry), Snake story
  • Dela-Oenale: Greetings, Swadesh list, Introduction, Cerita Lucu, Buku Binatang (common animals)
  • Lole: Swadesh list, Story, Story 2
  • Baikeno: Courtship
  • Tetun
  • Kupang Malay
  • (see these maps: West Timor and East Timor for locations. Baikeno, Mambai and Galolen are in East Timor, the others are in or near West Timor)

    Many of the results can be seen at the Endangered Languages Alliance's Youtube channel.

    We followed a set of principles for empowering community-based documentation, described here. Dan Kaufman has talked about how the workshop ran, what worked and what didn't, with this set of slides.




    Keen participation

    Working at lunch

    Updated:  13 December 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Mark Donohue/ Page Contact:  Mark Donohue