Nalu Language Archive


Nalu Language Archive

Language: Nalu (ISO639-3:naj)
Depositor: Frank Seidel
Location: Guinea
Deposit Id: 0249
Grant id: IPF0145
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
This collection contains a record of the little studied Nalu language. At the moment it includes two dictionary collections, audio and audio-visual data from different textual genres, cultural activities, etc., five short documentaries, preliminary drafts for an orthography and a grammatical sketch.

Group represented
Nalu-speakers of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

Language information
Nalu is an endangered Atlantic (Niger-Congo) language spoken on the littorals of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. In Guinea, most Nalu speakers live north of the river Nuñez on the Tristão islands, located in the sub-prefecture of Kanfarandé, prefecture of Boké. Across the border in Guinea-Bissau, speakers of Nalu inhabit the Cacine estuary in the Tombali region.

Nowadays, Nalu speakers are shifting towards Soso. Because of the language shift situation it is hard to gauge exactly how many people actually speak the language still. Numbers vary between 6000-25000. It is predominantly spoken by an adult population (>30 years) but is still transmitted to the next generation in a few remote villlages around Katoufoura.

It is claimed that ancestors to the contemporary language community entered the current living area around the 14th and 15th centuries.



Deposit contents
  • Preliminary draft for a sketch grammar
  • Draft version 1.0.1 for a trilingual dictionary in Toolbox with more than 2000 entries.
  • A dictionary for Nalu created by Rolf Engelbrecht for the New Tribes Mission, which has been made available to Frank Seidel towards the end of the first fieldwork period. (This is fortunate, since it will allow for comparison of entries between two independently collected lexicons.)
  • Audio and audio-visual files of approximately 70 recording sessions containing stories and fairy-tales of the Nalu, songs, personal narratives, recipes, descriptions on fishing and masonry, Friday prayer sermons in a mosque, public speeches, recounts of the frog story (Mayer 1969), conversations, ethnographic interviews, and a soccer game commentary.


The archive also contains five ethnographic documentaries on various cultural and economical activities typically found among the Nalu:
  • Gruber, Martin and Frank Seidel. Muslim in the Village, Kaffer in the Forest. Documentary film on a death ritual of a Nalu female secret society. Great Britain/USA/Germany, ca. 60 min.
  • Gruber, Martin and Frank Seidel. Myiba ka mawɛleb. Documentary film on a fishing technique in the mangroves of the Guinea coast. Great Britain/USA/Germany, ca. 10 min. (Shown at the pre-conference film screening of the 4th 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, February 2015.)
  • Gruber, Martin and Frank Seidel. Myiba ka msɔɔŋket. Documentary film on a fishing technique in the mangroves of the Guinea coast. Great Britain/USA/Germany, ca. 10 min.
  • Gruber, Martin and Frank Seidel. Mtow ka awuc. Documentary film on salt extraction in the flood-areas of the mangroves of the Guinea coast. Great Britain/USA/Germany, ca. 10 min.
  • Gruber, Martin. 2013. Bɛhɛɛrayɛ (Our missionaries). Documentary film on missionaries among the Nalu. Great Britain/USA/Germany, ca. 10 min. The film was shown at:
    • Athens Ethnographic Film Festival 2013
    • NAFA Film Festival, Bilbao 2013
    • Ethnological Film Festival Kratovo, Macedonia 2013
    • Hamburg International Short Film Festival 2014
    • World Film Festival, Tartu, Estonia 2014
    • Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2014
    • Antropofest Prague 2014
    • Ethnocineca, Vienna 2014


Deposit history
The Nalu Language Archive was made possible through funds from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) for the post-doctoral language documentation project Documentation of Nalu, Tristão islands, Guinea (Atlantic, Niger-Congo) which was hosted by the Center for African Studies (CAS) at the University of Florida and effected in collaboration with the Université Général Lansana Conté de Sonfonia-Conakry (UGLC_SC). Fieldwork was done from January 2011 - June 2011 and January 2012 - May 2012. So far anything contained in this archive originates directly from that project.

Other information
NOTICE 16/10/2015 Technical errors seem to have eliminated some files from the frontend of the archive. This affects, for example, the dictionary files as well as the short ethnographic films. Please feel free to contact Frank Seidel, in case you need to access files that you cannot locate in the archives. I apologize for the inconvenience. I will let you know once all the files are accessible through the frontend again. Frank Seidel.

Publications on Nalu based on the archive:

Seidel, Frank (2015, November). Rethinking narrative tenses based on data from Nalu (Atlantic) and Yeyi (Bantu). In: Doris Payne and Shahar Shirtz (eds), Beyond Aspect: The Expression of Discourse Functions in African languages. (Typological Studies in Language 109.) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 177–218.

Work in progress:

All of the audio and audio-visual sessions have been transcribed and translated into French in notebooks, but the transcriptions and annotations are not yet available in the archive. Frank Seidel is currently working on finalzing the first sketch grammar (Version 1.0.0) and digitizing the transcriptions and translation with Toolbox. After the first sketch grammar has been finalized and the morphological analyses harmonized with the first sketch grammar, the transcriptions and annotations will betransported to ELAN and time aligned; at which point they will be uploaded iteratively to this archive. Owing to a fieldwork commintment during the first months of 2014 it is planned to make the sketch grammar publicly available in mid-2014 and to upload the first time aligned annotations at the same time.

References

Mayer, Mercer. 1969. Frog, where are you? New York: Dial Press.



Acknowledgement and citation
Seidel, Frank (Depositor). 2013-present. Nalu Language Archive. (Deposit 0249). School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London: Endangered Language Archives (ELAR). URL: [insert URL].

Status

Collection online
Resources online and curated

Depositor

Frank Seidel
Affiliation: University of Florida

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 May 24 to 2019 May 24
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics


Showing 1 - 10 of 60 Items


Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

After p055 told us the settlement history we were invited to stay for dinner and p055 wanted to tell us a few stories. He was joined by his wife p087 and a neighbor p035. Masanta is a small settlement about a half hour by foot from the school in Koukouba and closest to Madina, the Fula village. Several people from the settlement gathered to hear these stories or watch me record them. Owing to the spontaneousness of this session I had to wing my way through the recording setup. Nevertheless, this was not a bad session and the idea to have a fire backlight to see how the Panasonic HDC-HS60 would take it proved to be good. (I had put p003 in charge of keeping the fire going and he can be seen in the background sometimes looking for more fuel. He used fast burinng materials and I think the next time it would be good to have a more steady wood fueled fire going.) The storytellers can be seen reasonably well, even if granulated. Note that the lighting was aided by the camera. As always with these open sessions the crowd is hard to control, in that cellphones will be played with, even though it has been asked to switch them off, and there is always some talk or comment going on in the background. Fortunately, there is no network at Masanta, so at least calls can be avoided. There are ten stories told all in all, of which only the first three have been transcribed. The sound is not always ideal in that there is considerable attenuation at times. p002 really liked the first story by the old man. The camcorder switches off during the last story as the battery was depleted. Once all stories are transcribed and annotated I will make single videos out of this and work further upon the sound to make it more understandable. Finally, for a reason I do not understand, the .m2ts video file had split into two pieces, owing to a skip in the timeline (about 3 frames were dropped). I do not know, what caused that skip.

Recorded on: 2011-04-27

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse-Narrative - p002 - p087 - p055 - p035 - p003 - p001



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

A story about how the herd was created.

Recorded on: Unknown



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

This video session went extremely well, I think. I had ample time to set everything up. I took the Imam in his window with camera_001 and recorder_001 as sound backup as well. Both were connected to mic_003s. p003 had the brilliant idea of sticking the mics on bamboo branches with a split in the middle, so that he could hold them in a position close to the Imam from his own praying position under his window. He held them steady for the most time, but they shifted a little sometimes. I do not think that it affected the recording overly. As I could not make a soundcheck with the Imam, as he had promised before, I leveled the camera sound a little higher and the Marantz a little lower thinking that one of them should get it right. Thus the sound recording of the Camera is sometimes clipped. There is one interesting tidbit concerning the presentational style of the Imam. I expected the Imam to do the explanation in Nalu, which he did, but not chanted. p002 said that he is trying to imitate an Imam who gave a guest sermon once and did the sermon in chanted Arabic and Soso, but that this Imam does not really know how to do it, ever since then he chants his explanations as well. Talking to one of the audience the next day while replaying the sermon on the laptop he said that he likes the sermon, but does not really understand it. He has difficulties understanding the chanted Nalu, and this is from an elder who speaks Nalu really well. p002 and p003 said that an Imam in Koukouba 2 also does sermons in Nalu. In both villages the setup seems the same, that two Imams do the sermons in Soso, and the third week one Imam does the sermon in Nalu. The Imam in Koukouba 2 supposedly does not chant. The consultation before the sermon handled by somebody else was in Soso. The audience in the mosque consisted of three rows of male devotess and at the back a few women. Mostly middle aged and elder people. The audience trickled in a little later than usual, because of the festivities of the sacred forest going on nearby.

Recorded on: 2011-03-20




Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

The team had headed out again to do some recordings. Unfortunately, they still level out too highly and the recording went over the level limit at certain times. And according to the team p070 approached the microphone when he wanted to make a point. I have included a fixed file in the database.

Recorded on: 2012-03-13

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse-Narrative - p004 - p070 - p094 - p090



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

This recording was done by the team with a little help on my side after the sacrifice for p077's mother with a guest who originates in Guinea Bissau. @ I think I have a picture of the recording setup.

Recorded on: 2012-03-10

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse-Narrative - p075 - p004 - p090 - p001



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

This recording was done by the team with a little help on my side after the sacrifice for p077's mother with a guest who originates in Guinea Bissau. @ I think I have a picture of the recording setup.

Recorded on: 2012-03-10

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse-Narrative - p075 - p004 - p090 - p001



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

Since work with p002 on the wordlist prooved a little fruitless

Recorded on: 2011-03-15




Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

This is a session with p078. It was more interview style with p002 guiding the lady towards topics that interested him. I have the feeling that the initiated older women like to reminisc about the older times, when the sacred forests were in full swing. I have not encountered that with the men. Maybe one of the reasons is that these female secret forests empowered them. After talking about the history she sings samples of the songs that used to be sung during the festivities of the sacred forest. The session was held on the front porch of the house we were sleeping in (cf. session 20120312). I used this still as a session to show them how to handle the microphone (see 20120313d).

Recorded on: 2012-03-13

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse - p078 - p002 - p004 - p001



Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

I think this was a lucky strike. A lady from Guinea Bissau walked by and I wanted to know, if she spoke Nalu. She didn't but p002 said the the wife of one of his 'brothers' is from Guinea Bissau and speaks Nalu well. We sent for her and she was immediatly disposed to work a little. We took the session under the Mango tree accross the path from p002's house. During the telling of the recipe and the personal history I remained at the location, and might have even walked into the frame once, I had forgotten about the wide angle lens. The audio recorder was not placed nicely for me to avoid walking into the frame. We also had to take care of her baby who would not quit crying. I had told p002 to also steer the conversation to the misadventures when he was supposed to broker the marriage deal for her. Once they started, I walked away, came back once to check on the battery levels and then a second time when they told me the converstion is over. This time I forgot to take pictures of the recording setup.

Recorded on: 2011-03-19




Deposit title: Nalu Language Archive

The old lady in this session is pretty old. I think that she spends most of her day in her room on the bed, since she is blind and her legs are paralysed. She had dressed up for the occasion. When we had come by the day before to ask her, if she would be ready to work with us and made the appointment, she was bare-breasted and I had told her family that it would probably a good idea, if she would be covered for the recording, since many people will be able to see this recording. I have also decided to have her leave the glasses on, for two reasons: a) hear eyes tear heavily and the glasses hid that fact a little b) I had opened up the window to let more light in for the filming, although the light makes her eyes tear more (as I was told). One difficulty that I had to decide was, if I should place p002 behind the camera for the session, so that the lady would talk more into the camera, or if I have him holding the mic. I decided to have him holding the mic, because he is not able to yet to monitor. He is also reluctant to manage the situation around the session, e.g. asking people to be a little quiet. As most people here he just shouts at people no matter where he is. I am under the impression that this is so engrained in him (and everybody else) that even, if you tell them not to do it, when they try to control the surroundings, they will shout. And lastly, he is a lot stronger then I and I expected the session to be at least a half-hour. He did a great job holding the mic connected to the Marantz, although it was way to far from the source and I only used the sound file for transcription.

Recorded on: 2011-04-20

Keywords: Nalu - Discourse-Narrative - p044 - p002 - p003 - p001