Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Language archive of insular South East Asia and West New Guinea (Laiseang)

The Laiseang archiving project ensures the preservation of unique records of languages in the region which have been gathered by more than two dozen linguists at, and in collaboration with Dutch universities over the last 40 years.

Duration
2013  -   2014
Contact
Marian Klamer
Funding
CLARIN-NL CLARIN-NL
Partners

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

The geographical region of insular South East Asia and New Guinea is well-known as an area of mega-biodiversity. Less well-known is the extreme linguistic diversity in this area: over a quarter of the world’s 6000 languages are spoken here. However, as most of these are small minority languages, they will cease to be spoken in the coming few generations. 

The Laiseang archiving project ensures the preservation of unique records of languages in the region which have been gathered by more than two dozen linguists at, and in collaboration with Dutch universities over the last 40 years. Materials are compiled and archived in collaboration with The Language Archive (TLA) at the Max Planck Institute Nijmegen.

The resulting archive will constitute an unrivaled collection of multimedia materials and written documents from over 50 languages in Insular South East Asia and West New Guinea. At TLA, the data will be archived according to state-of-the-art standards (TLA holds the Data Seal of Approval): the component metadata infrastructure CMDI will be used; all metadata categories as well as relevant units of annotation will be linked to the ISO data category registry ISOcat. This guarantees the proper integration of the language resources into the CLARIN framework. Through the archive, future speaker communities and researchers will be able to plumb the materials for answers to their own questions, even if they do not themselves know the language, and even if the language dies.

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