The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project   The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project

Leverhulme Public Lecture

Professor Anvita Abbi.Anvita Abbi

Breathing life into a dying language: Documenting Great Andamanese

The Leverhulme Public Lecture was organised by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at SOAS. It took place on Thursday 17th November 2011 at the Brunei Lecture Theatre at SOAS.

The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal are home to three highly endangered languages: Jarawa, Onge and Great Andamanese. Professor Abbi will share her experiences documenting them and compiling a multilingual multiscriptal interactive dictionary revealing the ecological and archeological signatures of the original communities and their ties with the environment. An ethno-semantic and ornithological account of the local birds and their names in the Great Andamanese language features in the dictionary and in the book Birds of the Great Andamanese co-authored by Professor Abbi and Dr Satish Pande. The talk will include examples of original sound and video recordings of the last native speakers of Great Andamanese.

This talk described the outcomes of the project Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese, funded by the Hans Rausing Endangered Language Project at SOAS.

Professor Anvita Abbi

Anvita Abbi is originally based in India as a Professor of Linguistics, Centre for Linguistics, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. During 2011 she was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at SOAS. Anvita Abbi is a world-recognized distinguished linguist on minority languages of the Indian sub-continent and has carried out first-hand field research on all six language families of India. She has published in the areas of areal typology, language documentation, structures of tribal languages, language policy and education, and analysis of ethno-linguistic aspects of language more.

Language Documentation of Great Andamanese deposited at ELAR

More information on outcomes of the project