Black Sand Stories: a polysemiotic and multimodal documentation of Paamese sand stories, a critically endangered cultural tradition of Vanuatu.

The Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP) provides grants worldwide to for the linguistic documentation of endangered language and knowledge. Grantees create multimedia collection of endangered languages. These collections are preserved and made freely available through the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) housed at the library of SOAS University of London.

This project will provide culturally enriched descriptions of the speech, gestures, and complex geometrical drawings of sand stories, a unique form of communication, practiced by only four elder storytellers on Paama, Vanuatu. These important mnemonic devices for local histories, indigenous cosmologies, kinship systems, and scientific knowledge have been listed as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO since 2008, but have never been documented in a systematic way. The project aims at preserving these invaluable vectors of indigenous language and culture, by employing innovative techniques and providing dynamic datasets that capture the inherent polysemiotic and multimodal nature of Paamese sand storytelling. Primary investigator: Simon Devylder

Project Details


Location: Vanuatu, Melanesia, Oceania Organiser(s): Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Project partner(s): Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £9,853.00 Commencement Date: 01/2015 Project Status: Active
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