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Grant number like: FN-50130-14

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Hiroko Sato
University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI 96822-2247)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

[Grant products]

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

Grant period:
9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015

Preliminary Field Investigation of the Bebeli Language, Papua New Guinea

Bebeli is a highly endangered Austronesian language spoken in the West New Britain area of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea. Tok Pisin, a lingua franca in Papua New Guinea, is the dominant language in nearly all domains, including daily life, among all generations of the Bebeli community. Children are not learning Bebeli any more, and their parents do not teach it to them. The situation is likely to continue or grow worse due to the area's increasing accessibility and the growing oil palm industry, which brings contact with people from different areas. The main goals of this preliminary investigation are (1) to establish a foundation for an ongoing project with the Bebeli community; (2) to build a Bebeli corpus emphasizing culturally significant texts; and (3) to produce annotated recordings and a sketch grammar of the language. With the University of Hawai'i as a base, fieldwork will be carried out on two extended trips to the Bebeli area with the objectives of establishing a relationship with the community and finding consultants; eliciting basic vocabulary, phrases and sentences; and collecting and annotating texts. Data will be archived at the University of Hawai'i Digital Ethnographic Archive. (Edited by staff)