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Linguistic Diversity and its Sources

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Documentation of Negidal, a nearly extinct Northern Tungusic language of the Lower Amur

  Contact person
Brigitte PAKENDORF , Natalia Aralova

Scientific framework and objectives

This project, which is funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (Major Documentation Project MDP0346, 2016-2021), focuses on the documentation of Upper Negidal. Negidal, a highly moribund Northern Tungusic language, comprises two dialects, Upper and Lower Negidal, which are/were spoken on the Amgun' and Lower Amur rivers in the Far East of the Russian Federation. To our knowledge, the Upper dialect is still spoken with varying degrees of proficiency by only five women (seven in 2018), of whom the youngest was born in 1955. These speakers all live in the village of Vladimirovka or the nearby district centre Polina Osipenko village. The Lower Negidal dialect, in contrast, is no longer actively spoken (Pakendorf & Aralova 2018 ).

The project consists primarily in constructing an extensive corpus of transcribed, translated, and glossed oral recordings from the Upper dialect, which is being deposited in the ELAR Archive (see the collection). The bulk of these recordings were made in 2005-2010 by a team of Russian linguists headed by Elena Kalinina and are now being annotated by us. In the course of our project we have added some new recordings. These involve speakers not included in the previous project, as well as genres that were underrepresented, especially procedural texts accompanied by videos. In addition, we were able to add digitized tape recordings made in the 1990s of two speakers (a woman and a man) who have already passed away.

  Financial support
  • ELDP - Major Documentation Project (MDP)
    Documentation of Negidal, a nearly extinct Northern Tungusic language of the Lower Amur
    ELDP - Arcadia - SOAS, London University

  • Pakendorf, B., Aralova, N., 2018, "The endangered state of Negidal: A field report", Language Documentation and Conservation , 12, pp. 1-14
  • Pakendorf, B., Aralova, N. (eds), 2019, "Ŋeːɣidal təːluŋəltin-dəː, ulgujiltin-daː, etkaltin-daː. Negidal’skie skazki, rasskazy i obyčai. [Negidal fairy tales, stories, and traditions]", Fürstenberg/Havel, Kulturstiftung Sibirien, ISBN 978-3-942883-37-5

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