« 3L Summer School - Peter K. Austin | Blog home | Directions in Oceanic Research - Call for papers »

business learning training articles new learning business training opportunities finance learning training deposit money learning making training art loan learning training deposits make learning your training home good income learning outcome training issue medicine learning training drugs market learning money training trends self learning roof training repairing market learning training online secure skin learning training tools wedding learning training jewellery newspaper learning for training magazine geo learning training places business learning training design Car learning and training Jips production learning training business ladies learning cosmetics training sector sport learning and training fat burn vat learning insurance training price fitness learning training program furniture learning at training home which learning insurance training firms new learning devoloping training technology healthy learning training nutrition dress learning training up company learning training income insurance learning and training life dream learning training home create learning new training business individual learning loan training form cooking learning training ingredients which learning firms training is good choosing learning most training efficient business comment learning on training goods technology learning training business secret learning of training business company learning training redirects credits learning in training business guide learning for training business cheap learning insurance training tips selling learning training abroad protein learning training diets improve learning your training home security learning training importance

Early this morning, a delivery of audio files was quietly sent from Paradisec's local server at the University of Sydney to permanent near-line tape storage at the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing in Canberra. This happens on many days, as you might imagine, but what makes today's delivery special, was that somewhere in that bunch of files was our 2000th archived hour of audio.

Moreover, we will soon be celebrating five years of operations, in which case, 2000 hours might not seem so impressive - it's just 400 hours per year after all - but we at Paradisec are very proud of our collection. Especially given that just about everything here is done on a shoestring budget and there have been some lengthy hiatuses of funding lately.

Speaking of which, this may be an opportune time to mention that we are always amenable to generous donations from people wishing to sponsor the digitisation and preservation of a collection of data. See our website for more details.

So, just which file was the lucky 2000th hour? Well, we can't really be sure, but we do know that it was among a collection of Mark Durie's research into the dialects of Aceh, an area that was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of Boxing Day 2006.

To help us celebrate both these milestones, Mark has kindly written a small piece for us about Aceh's dialects, his research of them and the importance of preserving the collection. He has also allowed a small portion of one of these recordings to be posted with this piece, which you can download here.

The Acehnese dialect tape collection

By Mark Durie

When conducting research on Acehnese in the early 1980's I chose to focus my work in North Aceh, an area where the dialects were relatively uniform. Due to the large number of speakers in North Aceh, this dialect region had become something of a standard. Of far greater historical interest were the dialects of Great Aceh and down the West Coast to the ancient Daya region.

Acehnese society is matrilocal. The word for 'wife' in Acehnese is prumoh which means 'owner of the house'. Typically a woman lives in a house on land which belonged to her mother's family, and villages are composed of groups of houses owned by women who are all related to each other in their female line. So the linguistic history of Acehnese villages is marked by continuous chains of language transmission from mother to daughter, stretching back unbroken in the same location for centuries. The men of the family have typically married into it from other villages.

This circumstance lends itself to dialectal differentiation. As men often work elsewhere, they are absent from the village, and children learn their dialects from their mothers. North Aceh was relatively homogenous because it was only settled late, around the 17th-18th centuries. However in the Greater Aceh and Daya regions each village has a different dialect. Children shouting to each other across a river can often easily tell which side of the river a voice comes from, by the accent.

The Acehnese vowel system is quite complex, and what I found in dialect survey work, undertaken after my primary PhD field research in North Aceh, was an amazing variety in vowel systems, and evidence of a long history of dialect divergence. The most interesting dialects of all were from the area on the west coast of Aceh, directly opposite the earth quake zone.

I had compelling a sense of urgency in undertaking this research, with the assistance first of Dr Qismullah Yusuf, and then Dr Bukhari Daud, both of Universitas Syiah Kuala. I believed that the dialects would inevitably lose ground rapidly under pressure from modern living conditions, and if I did do at least some dialect recordings, no-one else would. Little did we realize that in just a few years, some of the locations we visited would no longer exist.

It was with a sinking heart that I heard even the first reports of the tsunami. I knew only too well that many thousands of Acehnese lived within a few metres of sea level. My worst fears were confirmed as the media reports came in over the following days.

The massive dislocation of people caused by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, combined with the complete destruction of the very oldest and most densely differentiated dialect areas, was a linguistic tragedy as well as massive humanitarian disaster. Today the Acehnese dialect tapes are a very precious resource, a fragmentary remnant of dialects which had more than a thousand years of settled history behind them.


As always, here are the repository reports:

Repository Metrics

   Collections : 112 collections
          Items : 3,962 items
          Files : 27,714 files
           Size : 3.56 TB
           Time : 2019:31:00.00

File Type Metrics

    Type     Files          Size          Duration
    ....    ......     .........     .............    
     .dv        23      23.44 GB       00:00:00.00
    .eaf         2     229.08 KB       00:00:00.00
    .img         8      24.75 GB       00:00:00.00
    .jpg    14,639      20.29 GB       00:00:00.00
    .mov        61     485.53 GB       00:00:00.00
    .mp3     6,027     107.46 GB     2003:08:30.00
    .mp4         6       2.22 GB       00:00:00.00
    .mpg       103      30.37 GB       00:00:00.00
    .pdf        82     487.33 MB       00:00:00.00
    .rtf        27       4.51 MB       00:00:00.00
    .tab        40     819.65 KB       00:00:00.00
    .tif       357       1.61 GB       00:00:00.00
    .trs        17     390.08 KB       00:00:00.00
    .txt       207      16.44 MB       00:00:00.00
    .wav     6,084       2.88 TB     2019:31:00.00
    .xml        31       1.20 MB       00:00:00.00
            ......     .........     .............    
            27,714       3.56 TB     4022:40:00.00

Comments

Wow thanks Mark. Truly amazing and heartbreaking and wonderful.

And thanks Aidan too.

And paradisec. :-)

thanks..really interesting..
proud to be an acehnese...

Thanks Mark for your great work to preserve the Acehnese culture and language. Your Acehnese pocket dictionary is of great help for those wanting to learn about the beautiful, unique language.

Thanks Mark, this is really a great work. This reminds myself how my daughter got my village accent from me (we live in my village) rather than his father, whose accent is fairly different from mine though we come from just different sub districts that are only a few kilometres apart.

I`m as Acehnese very proud of you... thanks for this study...great!!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Enter the code shown below before pressing post

The Authors

About the Blog

The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.
More

FAQ

Papua New Guinea FAQs from Eva Lindstrom Papua New Guinea (New Ireland): Eva Lindstrom's tips for fieldworkers

Australian Languages Answers to some frequently asked questions about Australian languages

Papua Web Information network on Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya)

Hibernating blogs

Indigenous Language SPEAK

Langguj gel Australian linguistics and fieldwork blog

Interesting Blogs

Omniglot Writing systems and languages of the world

LingFormant Linguistics news

Language hat Linguistics news and commentary

Jabal al-Lughat Linguistics news and commentary on a range of languages

Living languages Blog with news items and discussion of endangered languages

OzPapersOnline Notices of recent work on the Indigenous languages of Australia

That Munanga linguist Community linguist blog

Anggarrgoon Claire Bowern's linguistics and fieldwork blog

Savage Minds A group blog on Anthropology

Fully (sic)

Language on the Move Intercultural communication and multilingualism

Talking Alaska: Reflections on the native languages of Alaska

Culture matters: applying anthropology Australian anthropology blog: postgraduates and staff

Long Road ethnography and anthropology blog - including about Australia

matjjin-nehen Blog on Australian linguistics, fieldwork, politics and the environment.

Language Log Group blog on language and linguistics

Links

E-MELD The E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation

Tema Modersmål Website in Swedish with links to sites on and in many languages

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project: Language Documentation: What is it? Information on equipment, formats, and archiving, and examples of documentation

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources a worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples

Technorati Profile

Technology-enhanced language revitalization Include ILAT (Indigenous Languages and Technology) discussion list.

Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia

Koryak Net Information on the people of Kamchatka

Linguistic fieldwork preparation: a guide for field linguists syllabi, funding, technology, ethics, readings, bibliography

On-line resources for endangered languages

Papua New Guinea Language Resources Phonologies, grammars, dictionaries, literacy, language maps for many PNG languages

Resource network for linguistic diversity Networking practitioners working to record,retrieve & reintroduce endangered languages

Projects

ACLA child language acquisition in three Australian Aboriginal communities

DELAMAN The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network

PARADISEC The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Murriny-Patha Song Project Documenting the language and music of public songs and dances composed and performed by Murriny Patha-speaking people

PFED The Project for Free Electronic Dictionaries

DOBES Endangered language documentation and archiving, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen.

DELP Documenting endangered languages at the University of Sydney

Ethno EResearch Exploring methods and technology for streaming media and interlinear text