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 documents two closely related languages, Ifira-Mele and Emae, spoken on nearby islands in Shefa province, Vanuatu. These languages hold a significant position within the approximately 138 languages of Vanuatu, being two of only three Polynesian outlier languages in the country. Both languages are threatened by a number of factors. The language communities have close contact with urban communities, which is leading to some shift to the lingua franca, Bislama. Emae has approximately 400 speakers, amongst a small island population of around 800. Ifira-Mele has about 3,500 speakers, but is more threatened by its close proximity to the capital.
Primary investigator: Catriona Malau