Gorwaa, Hadza, and Isanzu: Grammatical Inquiries in the Tanzanian Rift Valley Area

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.

Gorwaa (South-Cushitic, Afro-Asiatic), Hadza (isolate), and Isanzu (Bantu (F-group), Niger-Congo) are three of the least documented languages of the Tanzanian Rift Valley linguistic area. Decreasing numbers (15,000 for Gorwaa in 2017, 650 for Hadza in 2013, and 32,000 for Isanzu in 1987), environmental change, and the loss of linguistic domains to Swahili all contribute to the endangerment status of these three languages. Building on knowledge gained during previous documentation of Gorwaa, this project provides equivalent documentation of materials deemed historically and culturally important for the Isanzu and Hadza, including musical traditions, oral histories, and traditional ecological knowledge. These materials, supplemented in all three languages with structured elicitation, will form the basis of grammatical analysis comparing specific features present in these languages with the characteristic areal features for the Tanzanian Rift Valley. Primary investigator: Andrew Harvey

Project Details


Location: Tanzania, Eastern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Project partner(s): Leiden University Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £137,880.00 Commencement Date: 01/2015 Project Status: Active
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