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


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Natalia Aralova , Brigitte PAKENDORF

Cadre de l'étude et objectifs

This project, which is funded by an ELDP grant from the ARCADIA Foundation (Major Documentation Project MDP0346, 2016-2019), focuses on the documentation of Negidal. This 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, respectively. To our knowledge, the Upper dialect is still spoken with varying degrees of proficiency by seven women, of whom the youngest is 62 and the oldest 100 years old. These speakers all live in the village of Vladimirovka or the nearby district centre Polina Osipenko village. The Lower Negidal dialect might already be extinct – a hypothesis that is to be verified by a search for speakers in August 2017, during which we will be visiting several villages along the Lower Amur.
The project will result primarily in an extensive corpus of interlinearized texts from the Upper dialect together with accompanying audio and some video recordings, which are being deposited in the ELAR Archive. The bulk of these recordings were made by a team of Russian linguists in 2005-2010 and are now being annotated by us. In the course of our project we are adding some video recordings involving speakers not included in the prior corpus and covering genres that are as yet unrepresented.


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