A video documentation and study of Suki interactive speech


A video documentation and study of Suki interactive speech

Language: Suki (ISO639-3:sui)
Depositor: Charlotte van Tongeren
Location: Papua New Guinea
Deposit Id: 0462
Grant id: IGS0295
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit


Summary of deposit

Suki is an undescribed language spoken by over 3,500 people living in the remote swampy area just south of the Fly River in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. This project aims to video document a corpus of highly interactive, naturalistic speech, and include a study of a subset of this corpus into my PhD thesis on the grammatical structure of the language. I will teach filming and transcription skills to interested speakers, and by this have them closely involved in the project.

Suki has been classified as belonging to the Gogodala–Suki subgroup of the Trans New Guinea family (e.g. Ross 2005). Missionaries of the (now) Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea have resided in the Suki area, and worked on an orthography and translations of the New (Midim, Lindsay & Martin 1981) and Old Testament (in progress). Anthropologists have studied Suki kinship, marriage and clan structure (Van Nieuwenhuijsen-Riedeman 1979) with the help of an English-speaking informant. Linguist Voorhoeve has collected a word-list, and written preliminary notes on the language’s grammar (1970). Yet documentation and description of the language were still close to non-existant when I first started engaging with its speakers. The other languages in the Trans New Guinea subgroup – Gogodala with over 22,000 speakers (Ethnologue 2015), and tiny varieties Waruna and Ari – are equally poorly documented.



Group represented

Suki speakers inhabit ten villages between the Fly River and the Indonesian border. At least two dialects can be distinguished, based on differences in lexicon, morphophonology, and the segmental make-up of specific words. The dialects are close, however, and can be confidently treated in a single description. They are locally referred to as based in Eniyawa and Aewe villages respectively. Due to frequent interdialectal marriages, speakers are typically exposed to, and use, features of both.

Suki children grow up speaking the language, and they learn some English at school. As the language of education, it is English rather than Suki that is used in writing, even though the missionaries had developed a Suki orthography. English words and phrases are frequently used in speeches of the more formal type, in church services and village meetings. English is also the language of communication with speakers of neighbouring languages, some of whom have moved to Suki for marriage. Tok Pisin, a lingua franca in much of the rest of the country, is hardly spoken in this part of the Western Province.



Special characteristics
This deposit aims to highlight many interesting grammatical features of Suki. One such feature is the verb morphology used to express empathy with a participant of the event. Complex verb morphology is no surprise in the New Guinea area, and the language has some great verb morphology indeed. Another example would be past progressives, which are formed by a system of reduplication that forms words of exactly four syllables, whether their unreduplicated base is mono- or disyllabic.



Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any date from the corpus, please cite the corpus in this way:

Van Tongeren, Charlotte. 2018. A video documentation and study of Suki interactive speech. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: https://elar.soas.ac.uk/Collection/MPI1065344. Accessed on [insert date here].



Status

Collection online
Resources online and curated

Depositor

Charlotte van Tongeren
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Affiliation: The Australian National University

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2020 July 05 to 2020 July 05
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics


Showing 1 - 10 of 11 Items


This is a women's basketball training at Aewe village, preparing for the upcoming intravillage matches at Gigwa station. The trainer is Gainu Waipa. Participating in this trainign are Aewe Grade A, consisting of Waniye, Kusari, Kurita, Asita and Ismu, and Aewe Grade B, consisting of Tewere, Rebecca, Rose, Sukye and Turu. The recording is transcribed between 06:34.600 and 16:38.000. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-09-28




Breakfast with my consultant Twamki Yei, and several members of her household: her daughter Rose, her brother Asasu (Keni), his wife Bakiyato (Baki), their children Yei (Duka) and Waniku (Wanku, Diku), and Twamki and Keni's mother Ginasi (who is out of the frame most of the time, she appears briefly, wearing a pink shirt with black dots). Bakiyato tells how a girl Diyabato put on the old bachelor Naka's clothes as a joke. Duka is occupied with a (now dead) bird he caught. The children are preparing for their morning bath. There's a playful interaction around the youngest child Waniku, who uttered the non-word "te!" when her shell fell through the platform they're sitting on. This "te", accompanied by a pointing gesture to the ground, then comes to represent the falling of the shell. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-09-15




After a short stay at Eniyawa village, my adopted Eniyawa mother Yenderu (right) brings me to Kiru where I will stay with my adopted mother Sasrimi (left). Sasrimi offers to explain Yenderu how to weave a sago strainer, which is used to strain sago before cooking it. While she demonstrates the procedure, the two women joke about belonging to different clans, and what that means for the way I relate to them. In Eniyawa, I belong to the pig clan, and would from that perspective call my Kiru mother big sister. While in Kiru, I belong to the crocodile clan, and would from that perspective call my Eniyawa mother big sister. They conclude that it's probably best if I keeps calling both mothers mothers. They also discuss the fishing nets that they each received as a gift. Yenderu hasn't set hers yet, while Sasrimi has already caught many fish with hers. She even admits to lying to relatives and others occasionally about not having caught anything, so that she can share the fish in a way that she sees best fit. There is some child directed speech from both mothers addressing Sasrimi's baby daughter Rihanna. The woman sitting in the back is Yenderu's son's wife, who does not speak Suki. The children who appear on the video are Yenderu's sons Solomon and Hardy, Sasrimi's son Miteli, and her daughters Isabella and Rihanna. The recording is transcribed between 00:15.500 and 08:53.500. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.oH

Recorded on: 2018-10-14




This recording was made in the week that Aewe village celebrated Papua New Guinea's Independence since 16 September 1975. There were many sports activities such as rugby, basketball, volleyball and sprinting matches, and there were performances of drama and dancing. My adopted mother Waniye (left) is sitting on the platform underneath her house with a clear view on the playing field, and comments on the activities with her husband's mother Imna (right). In the beginning, Imna is playing with a children's (toy) bow. Throughout the recording, there are many reference to myself potentially participating in the sprinting, and to the camera. My adopted father Dennu (Waniye's husband and Imna's son) comes by and remarks on what he can see through the little camera screen: his son Linus crying, and Waniye eating sago. The recording is transcribed between 8:39.000 and 21:35.550. In this part, Waniye is breast feeding son Linus. When at some point Linus's friend Iksie (short for Iwana) walks past, the two women encourage Linus to call him by prompting him word by word. Iksie joins for a breakfast of sago pancake, but since he just lost a tooth, has difficulty eating and doesn't say a word. At the end of the recording, Imna reads from the New Testament with her new glasses. Linus is, again, encouraged to call out to a passer by. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-09-12






Wilson (right) came across from Pukaduka village to Kiru, and has a chat with Kipi (left), who is just working on some shelves for the kitchen. They exchange stories of yesterday's hunting trip, in which both Pukaduka and Kiru people participated. They hunted by burning the grassland. This was the first time in years that this piece of land was hunted again, since a young man died there during a hunting trip years ago. Occasionally Kipi's wife Sasrimi, who follows from inside the house, adds to the conversation. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. This session is not transcribed. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-10-25




Argumi accompanies me across the village to return a plate. Along the way, whe tells me how a relative's garden has burnt down recently, most probably because it had been put on fire. On our walk we pass the elementary school and the playing field, and several houses. Our walk ends when we are back at my host family's house, where my adopted mother Sasrimi is chopping firewood. The recording is transcribed between 04:53.500 and 13:17.500. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-10-17




My adopted younger sister Isabella and her friend Esther have accompanied me on my trip to the newly established village Namgawa. On our walk back to Kiru, Isabella starts telling stories in a typical style of story-telling, which is usually done by older men. One of the stories is a retelling of a film she watched, the others are made-up stories which involve mythological creatures. Transcribing these stories initially met some resistance from the transcriber and bystanders, as none of these things actually happens. Namgawa village lies along the Pamina River, between the Fly River and the Suki lagoon. Most of the walk goes along Pamina. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-10-15




Pastor Eriki and school board member Robin prepare to call the headteacher Lindsey of the school at Nakaku station, which is attended by the children from Kiru and Pukaduka villages. The exam period has finished and there are plans to hold a final get-together with church service at Nakaku, instead of the usual services at the villages. However, before the phone call can be made, their phones needs to be charged with phone credit. They decide to share a 3 kina phone credit card between the two of them: Eric puts it on his phone first, and then transfers half of the credit to Robin. The transaction is complicated when Robin's phone battery dies. Once the credit is onto their respective phones, they use Eric's phone to call the headteacher and discuss the matter. Recorded with a SONY HXRNX70P video camera and Rode Pro+ video mic. Video conversion (mts to mp4) and audio extraction was done with ffmpeg. The mp4 with "_xs" in its name is a smaller version of the same video file. Transcription & glossing are not at a final stage. Contact me if you have any questions. Do not use without permission.

Recorded on: 2018-10-21