Documentation of Critically Endangered Laji Language in Social and Cultural Context
The collection created within this project focuses on the language and culture of Flowery Laji in Zhongzhai and Sanjiajie villages, Jinchang Town, Maguan County of Yunnan Province, China. According to local elders, the Flowery Laji have been living in this town for nearly 300 years. Their ancestors came from two villages called Rooster Village and Hen Village in a district called Amizhou. “In the Yunnan Gazetteer of Ming Dynasty in 1383 it states that Amizhou belonged to Lin’an Fu” (Edmondson, J. A., 2003), which was renamed Kaiyuan Prefecture in 1648.
The number of Flowery Laji in Zhongzhai and Sanjiajie villages is 415, but only 22 people are proficient in Laji language. Among them, eight are more than 70 years old, 11 are between 60-69 ages, and 3 are in the 53-60 age group. Since the two villages are surrounded by Miao and Zhuang people, Laji people can speak Local Chinese and Zhuang fluently, some can even speak Miao or Dai language. Nowadays, Laji language has not being taught within families, thus young Laji people cannot speak the language. The Laji language is critically endangered.
For the phonology of Flowery Laji, there are 34 initials, 30 finals and 6 tones. Clusters and voiced stops cannot be found in initials, and there are a lot of tone sandhi changes.
The word-order of Flowery Laji is SVO. When the nouns are modified, numerals are placed before the nouns, and adjectives and demonstratives are behind the nouns. The most distinctive feature of Laji grammar is that the negation is finally positioned.
The outcomes of the proposed project will be deposited in ELAR, including metadata, 16 hours’ video/audio recordings, 5 hour’s quality of materials to be transcribed, annotated, noted and translated. The video/audio recordings will focus on the language used in the social and cultural context, such as ritual and festival activities, the processes of plantings, the processes of making traditional foods, daily conversations, story-telling, legends, and so on.
Acknowledgement and citation
Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Yan Yang as the principal investigator, the data collector and the researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by respective name(s). Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.