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.
Mardin Sign Language exists in a unique setting, a group of ca.40 members of an extended family with a high incidence of hereditary deafness over five generations. "Dilsiz" is the Turkish word for "deaf", and the sign language is used by both deaf and hearing family members. The language originated in the town of Mardin in south-eastern Turkey, but users of the language now live in Istanbul and Izmir. Mardin Sign Language is undocumented and on the brink of extinction under the influence of Turkish Sign Language, the language of the urban deaf community in Turkey.
Primary investigator: Ulrike Zeshan