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Grant number like: FN-50085-11

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Adam Baker
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Green Valley, AZ 85614)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 5/31/2013

Wakhi Language Documentation

The project aims to document and describe the Wakhi language, an Indo-European language of the Eastern Iranian group. Wakhi is spoken in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and China. This project focuses on the variety spoken in Afghanistan. There is little documentation available on Wakhi, yet the language may prove to be important in the reconstruction of Proto-Iranian--the hypothesized proto-language which gave rise to the present Iranian languages--as it exhibits some archaisms not seen in other Eastern Iranian languages. Speakers of Wakhi are bilingual and shifting to the majority language of the area in which they live. In Afghanistan, the dominant pattern is a shift to Persian, which is the language of education and commerce. It is important to collect language data now, while the language is still used on a day-to-day basis, rather than waiting for a more advanced stage of language shift. The primary goal is to produce an annotated corpus of Wakhi texts, collected from a variety of contexts. Documentation will consist of digital audio and video recordings, texts, a vocabulary, and basic grammatical description. A wide variety of text genres will be collected, including (but not limited to) folk tales, personal narratives, conversations, poetry, and proverbs. The project will enable further study of the Wakhi language by researchers, both in Afghanistan and internationally. (Edited by staff)