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.
Hawaii Sign Language (HSL) developed indigenously in Hawaii. After the introduction of American Sign Language in 1941, HSL has become a critically endangered language in urgent need of documentation. Fewer than 40 users have been identified, all elderly, many above 80. In the documentation process, teaching materials with companion dictionaries will be developed and conversational histories about the lives of HSL users will be collected, annotated and archived. This is the first in-depth study of any indigenous Pacific sign language, providing an important foundation for future research on other undocumented indigenous sign languages in the Pacific.
Primary investigator: James Woodward