Bonny Sands

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  • The Challenge(s) of Documenting Africa's Least Known Languages

    Bonny Sands

    Northern Arizona University

    Bonny.Sands@nau.edu

    ACAL 45

    April 17-19, 2014, University of Kansas

  • Preliminaries

    Why are languages endangered?

    Continent-wide Surveys: Batibo (2005) & Brenzinger 1992, 1998a, Brenzinger et al. 1991, Brenzinger & Batibo 2010, Dimmendaal & Voeltz 2007, Mous 2003, Sommer 1992, Tamanji 2008, Tourneux et al. 2000.

    Central Africa: Anchimbe 2013, Connell 1998, 2007, Idiata 2009

    West Africa: Blench 2007, Childs 2006, Haruna 2012

    Northern/Eastern Africa: Brenzinger 2007 a & b; Dimmendaal 1989. Mezhoud & El Allame 2010, Nyombe 1997, Sav & Tosco 2006, Zelealem Leyew 2004

    What is language documentation?

  • EGIDS: Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (Simons & Lewis 2013)

    GIDS Level Label Description UNESCO

    5 written The language is used orally by all generations and is effectively used in written f o r m i n p a r t s o f t h e community.

    safe

    6a vigorous The language is used orally by all generations and is being learned by children as their first language.

    safe

    6b threatened The language is used orally by all generations but only some of the child-bearing generation are transmitting it to their children.

    vulnerable

    7 shifting T h e c h i l d - b e a r i n g g e n e r a t i o n k n o w s t h e language well enough to use it among themselves but none are transmitting it to their children.

    definitely endangered

    8a moribund The only remaining active speakers of the language a r e m e m b e r s o f t h e grandparent generation.

    severely endangered

    8b nearly extinct The only remaining speakers o f t h e l a n g u a g e a r e m e m b e r s o f t h e grandparent generation or o l d e r w h o h a v e l i t t l e opportunity to use the language.

    critically endangered

  • Numbers of African languages at different risk levels (Lewis et al. 2013)

    Region # of living languages

    Vital In trouble Dying

    Middle Africa 677 555 77 45

    Western Africa 889 794 49 46

    Northern Africa 97 53 23 21

    Eastern Africa 433 362 57 19

    Southern Africa 50 41 3 6

    total: 1805 209 137

  • Vigorous' vs. Shifting/Threatened'

    Gky shifting or 'developing? (Orcutt-Gachiri 2013) says there is a shift to Kiswahili 7 million speakers

    What percentage must be failing to acquire the language? Does the population size matter?

    vigorous The language is used orally by all generations and is being learned by children as their first language.

    threatened The language is used orally by all generations but only some of the child-bearing generation are transmitting it to their children.

    shifting The child-bearing generation knows the language well enough to use it among themselves but none are transmitting it to their children.

  • Shifting' vs. Moribund

    Hoan of Botswana

    some middle-aged speakers

    majority of speakers are between 60 and 70 years old (Gerlach & Berthold 2011)

  • Extinct' languages

    N|uu once considered extinct (cf. Traill 1999)

    Birgid few speakers over age 70 in 1974 (Bell 2006) 2 rememberers found in 2003 (Edenmyr et al. 2011)

    Kwadi considered dead (Winter 1981) 2 rememberers found in 2014 (Anne-Maria Fehn,

    personal communication)

  • How many languages in need of documentation?

    346 in trouble?

    Ethnologue tends to overcount languages (Maho 2004)

    some have had documentation

  • What about:

    Marginalized populations

    Small populations

    Languages belonging to under-documented families

    Sign languages

    Cross-Linguistic studies Other types of documentation

  • Marginalized populations G|ui [gwi] and G||ana [gnk] vigorous

    2,500 and 2000 speakers (Ethnologue) 500 and 800 speakers (Batibo 2001: 315) eviction from CKGR

    Naro [nhr] 'language of wider communication' (3 on GIDS scale) 14000 speakers (Ethnologue) RADs difficulty accessing education (Hays 2004, Sekere 2011) undocumented dialects

    Tsaokhwe reportedly "prefer to see themselves as separate people from the Naro" (Barnard 1985: 2)

  • Marginalized populations hunter-gatherers

    endangered dialects

    special castes (blacksmiths, leatherworkers, potters, etc.) Somb [kgt] blacksmiths, 3 speakers (Connell 2010) Jeri leatherworkers, Ivory Coast, a few villages (Kastenholz 1998) Jg [lig] blacksmiths ~ 19,000 in Ghana (Lewis et al. 2013) but groups in

    Ivory Coast have shifted languages (Kastenholz 1998)

    refugee populations

    Deaf

    etc.

  • Small populations

    Downward population pressures: disease, climate change armed conflict genocide

    100,000 is not too large to be threatened (in other parts of the world) Navajo: 171,000 speakers

  • 17 Vigorous Northern African lgs. 100,000 speakers

    Tulishi [tey] 2500 (2007) Siwi [siz] 30,000 (2006)

    Ganza [gza] 3,000 Tegali [ras] 35,700 (1984)

    Tocho [taz] 3,800 (1989) Dagik [dec]/ Ngile [jle] 38,000 (1982)

    Kanga [kcp] 8,000 (1989) Senhaja Berber [sjs] 40,000 (2011)

    Wali [wll] 9,000 (2007) Midob [mei] 50,000 (1993)

    Ghomara [gho] 10,000 (2008) Daju, Dar Sila [dau] 63,100 (2000)

    Komo [xom] 18,530 Gaam [tbi] 67,200 (2000)

    Jumjum [jum] 25,000 (1987) Daju, Dar Fur [daj] 80,000 (1983)

  • North African lgs. 100,000 speakers

    Developing Educational

    Acheron [acz] 9,830 (2006) Ethnic population: 20,000

    Lumun [lmd] 30,000 (2012) Home area population 19,000 (2011 census)

    Otoro [otr] 10,000 (2001)

    Burun [bdi] 18,000 (1977) Gbaya [krs] 16,000 (1987) Moro [mor] 30,000 (1982) Krongo [kgo] 21,700 (1984) Tira [tic] 40,000 (1982) Uduk [udu] 22,000 Laro [lro] 40,000 (1998) Ama [nyi] 70,000 (1982) Koalib [kib] 44,300 (1984) Katcha-Kadugli-Miri [xtc] 75,000 (2004)

  • Vigorous endangered languages

    Qimant [ahg] (Zelealem Leyew 1998) ~1,650 (1994)

    Iko [iki] (Urua 2004) ~5000 (1988)

    Oko [oks] (Adegbija 2001) ~10,000 (1989)

    Vute [vut] (Mutaka 2008) ~21,000 (1997)

  • Tanzania, Cameroon and Nigeria

    Tanzania has 39 languages 'in trouble'

    Cameroon, Nigeria > 60 each

  • 26 safe lgs. 100,000 Language name & Ethnologue code

    Population estimate & year of estimate (from Ethnologue 17 (Lewis et al. 2013)

    % Change from Ethnologue 13 to 17 (1996-2013)

    Language name & Ethnologue code

    Population estimate & year of estimate (from Ethnologue 17 (Lewis et al. 2013)

    % Change from Ethnologue 13 to 17 (1996-2013)

    Bende [bdp] 27,000 (1999) +35% Ndendeule [dne] 100,000 (2000) +27%

    Bungu [wun] 36,000 (1987) -- Ngoreme [ngq] 55,000 (2005) +72%

    Burunge [bds] 13,000 (2002) -58% Nyika [nkt] 25,000 (2007) n/a

    C u t c h i - S w a h i l i [ccl]

    45,000 (2002) n/a Pangwa [pbr] 95,000 (2002 -46%

    Gorowa [gow] 50,000 (1999) +67% Pimbwe [piw] 29,000 (1987) --

    Ikizu [ikz] 55,000 (2005) +96% Rwa [rwk] 90,000 (1987) --

    Kerewe [ked] 100,000 (1987) -- Sandawe [sad] 40,000 (2000) -43%

    Konongo [kcz] 51,000 (1987) -- Temi [soz] 30,000 (2002) +50%

    Machinga [mvw] 36,000 (1987) -- Tongwe [tny] 13,000 (2001) -41%

    Malila [mgq] 65,000 (2003) +25% Vinza [vin] 10,000 (1987) --

    Manda [mgs] 22,000 (2002) +22% Zanaki [zak] 100,000 (2005) +61%

    Matumbi [mgw] 72,000 (1978) -- D a t o o g a [ t c c ] (Developing)

    87,800 (2000) -41% to -56%

    Mpoto [mpa] 80,000 (1977) -- V w a n j i [ w b i ] (Developing)

    28,000 (2003) -53%

  • Grammar sketches for < 1/3rd Language name & Ethnologue code

    Year of most recent g r a m m a r o r grammar sketch

    Language name & Ethnologue code

    Year of most recent g r a m m a r o r grammar sketch

    Bende [bdp] 2006 Ndendeule [dne] 1999 sketch

    Bungu [wun] -- Ngoreme [ngq] --

    Burunge [bds] 1994 Nyika [nkt] --

    Cutchi-Swahili [ccl] -- Pangwa [pbr] 1983

    Gorowa [gow] -- Pimbwe [piw] --

    Ikizu [ikz] -- Rwa [rwk] 2009 sketch

    Kerewe [ked] 1909 sketch Sandawe [sad] 2012

    Konongo [kcz] 1905 sketch Temi [soz] 1991/92

    Machinga [mvw] 1876 sketch Tongwe [tny] --

    Malila [mgq] -- Vinza [vin] --

    Manda [mgs] -- Zanaki [zak] --

    Matumbi [mgw] 1912 sketch Datooga [tcc] 1983 sketch

    Mpoto [mpa] -- Vwanji [wbi] --

  • Get ready for Cameroon

  • Cameroon (36 safe 5,000), pt. 1 Language name & Ethnologue code

    Status Population estimate & year of estimate (from Ethnologue 17 (Lewis et al. 2013)

    G r a m m a r (Nordhoff et al. 2014)

    Bible portions

    Jukun Takum [jbu] Wider communication

    2,440 in Cameroon (2000) 1980

    Cuvok [cuv] Developing 5,000 (1983), increasing 2003 phonology

    Duupa [dae] Developing 5,000 (1991) --

    Jimi [jim] Developing 3,500 (1982) --

    Kolbila [klc] Developing 2,500 (1997) --

    Yambeta [yat] Developing 3,700 (1982) --

    Yasa [yko] Developing 2,400 (2000) 2004 sketch --

    Akum [aku] Vigorous 1,400 in Cameroon (2002) -- --

    Ambele [ael] Vigorous 2,600 (2000) 2001 phonology --

    Bamenyam [bce] Vigorous 4,000 (1994) 2003 sketch --

    Bassossi [bsi] Vigorous 5,000 (2004) -- --

    Bati [btc] Vigorous 800 (1975) -- --

    Befang [bby] Vigorous 2,980 (2000) 2004 sketch