Documentation of the Kelabit language, Sarawak, Malaysia


Documentation of the Kelabit language, Sarawak, Malaysia

Language: Kelabit (ISO639-3:kzi)
Depositor: Charlotte Hemmings
Location: Malaysia
Deposit Id: 0301
Grant id:
Funding body:
Level: Deposit


Summary of deposit
This deposit includes materials collected as part of a PhD research project to document and describe the Kelabit language. It includes linguistic elicitation as well as naturalistic texts in a variety of genres, such as narratives, personal histories, procedural texts, conversations, formal speech, news reports and songs. Audio and video materials are transcribed using a provisional Kelabit orthography and translated into English using ELAN.

Group represented
The Kelabit of Northern Sarawak, Malaysia.

Language information
The Kelabit language is a Western Austronesian language spoken mainly in the fourth and fifth divisions of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is a member of the Apad Uat subgroup (sometimes referred to as Apo Duat or Kelabitic) which also includes Lun Bawang/Lundayeh, Sa'ban and Tring. Today, there are 18 longhouse communities where different dialects of Kelabit are spoken. This deposit includes materials collected in Bario and Pa' Umor (where northern varieties of Kelabit are traditionally spoken) and Pa' Dalih (where southern varieties of Kelabit are traditionally spoken). Some speakers from other villages are also represented in the recordings.

Deposit contents

The current corpus includes audio and video recordings of varying lengths, as well as written materials. These encompass a range of genres from elicitation to experimental data to naturalistic text. The elicitation sessions cover a variety of topics from basic phonology and morphosyntax to more complex constructions and information structure. The experimental data include a number of narratives collected using the pear story video stimulus and five readings of a series of short paragraphs designed for prosodic analysis. The naturalistic texts include a variety of genres such as narratives, personal histories, procedural texts, conversations, formal speech, news reports and songs. Finally, a copy of the PhD thesis that resulted from the project is also provided. This includes a basic sketch grammar (chapter 2) and more detailed description of Kelabit voice alternations (chapter 3), pronouns (chapter 4) and word order (chapter 5).

Audio and video recordings are annotated in ELAN with transcription, translation, comments and some tags relating to morphosyntactic analysis. Discussions on Kelabit orthography are ongoing and hence a provisional orthography is used that may be updated in future. More information on orthographic conventions can be found in the PhD thesis but note that the glottal stop is now represented with ' throughout the collection following community recommendations. Morphosyntactic tags are in the process of being added and will also be updated.

Deposit history

The materials in this deposit were collected over six and a half months of fieldwork from October-December 2013 and June-September 2014. They were collected by Charlotte Hemmings as part of a PhD research project to document and describe the Kelabit language with a particular focus on voice alternations and morphosyntactic variation. The recordings were collected following the methodology of language documentation and description and more information on the methods used in compiling the corpus and the nature of the recordings can be found in an appendix to the PhD thesis.

Charlotte Hemmings is currently collecting further data on the Kelabit language as part of post-doctoral research and will continue to add to the deposit.

Acknowledgement and citation
Users of any part of the corpus should acknowledge Charlotte Hemmings as the data collector and researcher. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should also be acknowledged by name along with any other contributors who transcribed or translated the data. This information can be found in the metadata for each recording. Finally, users should acknowledge the Wolfson Foundation, UK, as the funder of this research. To cite the corpus: Hemmings, Charlotte. 2017. Documentation of the Kelabit Language, Sarawak, Malaysia. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: https://elar.soas.ac.uk/Collection/MPI1029735. Accessed on [insert date here].

Status

Collection online
Resources online and curated

Depositor

Charlotte Hemmings
Affiliation: SOAS University of London

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 September 19 to 2019 September 19
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics


Showing 1 - 10 of 103 Items


Dara and Florance discuss their memories of growing up in the Kelabit Highlands. They talk about childhood games and childhood stories of hunting trips and ghosts, comparing games & stories from Pa Umor and Ulung Palang. Among other memories, Dara discusses making houses in the siang bush; getting scared by other children pretening to be buffaloes on the walk home from the farm in Pa Umor; and a game called "raut epik" which involves flicking a stick up from a hole and hitting it for other people to catch. Florance discusses camping in the jungle with her father and reflects on the way that some of the children in Ulung Palang were so scared of ghosts that they even got spooked by the gaps between the planks in the longhouse. They also discuss the Kelabit delicacies of "kelatang" (pink and white larvae) and "u'et" (grubs). The conversation is continued in 'Conversation - Childhood Memories and Games 02' (BAR08092014CH_06). The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, stereo mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens.

Recorded on: 2014-09-08




Dara and Florance continue to discuss their memories of growing up in the Kelabit Highlands and childhood games played by the people of Pa Umor and Ulung Palang. At the start, Florance discusses a ball game where you have to try and avoid being hit by a ball as you run around. Then she mentions "raut petepak" where two teams compete to try and get back to some boxes. Next Dara describes a game in which one team hides inside an old parachute net and the other team tries to get them out. Then she talks about "raut tebu'" which is a game with five or six stones that are thrown into the air. Finally, they talk about making marbles out of clay (or tana' kubet) and leaving them to dry in the sun at weekends. This is a continuation of the conversation in 'Conversation - Childhood Memories and Games 01' (BAR08092014CH_05). The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, stereo mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens.

Recorded on: 2014-09-08




David and Florance discuss the meaning of some older words that are dropping out of use and relate to traditional practices, particularly when walking between villages in the jungle. These include: (1) etung 'a halfway point between villages for selling/exchanging goods'; (2) ela 'a waiting or stopping point to wait for the rest of the group on long journies'; (3) ngerang 'to travel a long way to another longhouse'; (4) suud 'going backwards and forwards to transport goods bit by bit'; (5) metutul 'helping someone to carry something onwards'. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, Lavalier Mic x 2, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens.

Recorded on: 2014-08-17




Dara and Muda discuss life in Pa Umor in the past and how it compares to life today. First, Dara discusses some of the games they used to play as children. For example, floating down the river on logs. Another game was selling things in the jungle using the leaves of si'ang flowers as money. She also discusses some of their chores when they came home from school in Bario. These include: pounding rice; helping to dig the rice fields; scaring the birds and fetching water in a bamboo container called a 'tabang'. Subsequently, she talks about how their father used a resin lamps, or 'dawan', for light. Next, her sister Muda discusses her own memories of childhood and many of the fruits that they used to pick in the wild. These include berries from the ilang plant, which they would squish in a bamboo and then eat. Also berries from the si'ang plant, local mangosteen (bua' raku'); bua' sia'; and berries from the uber, tu'er and aap trees. The aap fruit would be squashed into a ball in your hands. As for games, she discusses making "rice" from mud and sliding in troughs, or 'bangeh', down to the river. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, Stereo Mic, wind gag. The recording is in stereo and wav format.

Recorded on: 2014-08-01




Dara, Muda and Charlotte discuss possible plans for the weekend, such as picking fruit in Pa Umor at the Tenga'ang farm. Muda and Dara discuss different types of plants that grow there, including different types of wild ginger (terebak, tubu') and different fruits (bua' buyo - citrus fruit, bua' buyo tuan - pomello, bua' raku'). The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, Stereo Mic, wind gag. The recording is in stereo and wav format.

Recorded on: 2014-08-01




Recorded on: Unspecified



Bulan invites guests to visit her homestay in Bario and describes some of the things that visitors can do. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, lavallier mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens. The recording is in mono and WAV format.

Recorded on: 2014-09-09




Bulan continues her invitation for guests to visit her homestay in Bario and describes some of the things that visitors can do. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, lavallier mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens. The recording is in mono and WAV format.

Recorded on: 2014-09-09




David explains how to set up camp in the jungle using wild ginger leaves and wild palm for the shelter and stressing the importance of keeping a fire burning and choosing a good location. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, Lavalier Mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens.

Recorded on: 2013-10-25




Gerawat talks about some Kelabit traditions relating to fishing and farming. First, he discusses how to set a 'mering' fish trap in the traditional Kelabit way by placing the trap in a dam, facing upriver. Depending on the size of the hole, you can catch big or little fish. He then discusses several methods of scaring the birds away from the paddy in the rice fields. The first method is using a 'peririu' which is made of bamboo and attached to a string so that you can move the bamboo from left to right to scare off the birds. The second method uses a 'perepak' which is also made of bamboo and makes a crashing sound to scare the birds. Another method involves building bamboo bridges (or 'apir') across the farm and banging on the hand rails. Finally, Gerawat discusses how the Kelabit used to make 'periwer' or propellers, which spin and make noises in the wind to scare away the birds. The following equipment was used: Zoom H4N, Lavalier Mic, wind gag, Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens.

Recorded on: 2013-10-27