Project introduction

In 2012, Professor Christian Lehmann initiated a project on the documentation and description on the Kanakanavu language together with Ilka Wild.

The Kanakanavu documentation and description project had two primary goals:

  1. collection of a corpus of a wide variety of text types, which are linguistically analyzed and electronically stored in a database as a foundation for further investigation;
  2. sketch of the language system (phonology, grammar, lexicon) and of the setting of the language.

In consonance with these goals, the research team collected data beyond primary language material. This is essentially knowledge of the cultural and ethnological situation of the language group. The project comprised the following kinds of activities:

  1. In fieldwork periods, texts were recorded from consultants of the Kanakanavu group. It was intended to collect a broad range of different text types. However, because of the socio-linguistic situation of the tribe, narrow restrictions obtained with regard to the variety of text genres and types obtainable. The texts have been digitized, transcribed and analyzed in Toolbox; the video and audio records have been annotated in ELAN. Available older texts have been incorporated into the corpus in an updated form. Cultural knowledge still available from informants is included in the documentation.
  2. Special investigations concerned the ethnographic, cultural and socio-linguistic situation of the group in terms of the degree of sinicization, dialectal differences inside Kanakanavu, its difference from Saaroa, and the effects of linguistic endangerment on the structure of contemporary Kanakanavu.

The Kanakanavu documentation and description project was funded by the Chiang-Ching-Kuo Foundation, R.O.C. from 2012 until 2015.

The team would like to thank the foundation for their support during the grant period.

Copyright: Ilka Wild 2013