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.
The project studies two language clusters of multi-ethnic and multi-lingual western Sichuan (China): (1) Ersu, comprising the mutually unintelligible Ersu, Tosu, and Lizu languages; (2) Xumi, comprising two diverse varieties with restricted mutual intelligibility. All four languages are endangered. The project yields corpora of audio, video, and text data, primarily of the moribund Tosu (4 speakers) and the severely endangered Xumi (circa 1,000 proficient speakers), and (1) sketch grammars of Tosu, Xumi, Lizu; (2) a collection of Ersu stories; (3) two comparative dictionaries (Ersu-Lizu-Tosu; Xumi), with Mandarin and English translations; and (4) pedagogical materials for Tosu.
Primary investigator: Katia Chirkova