With half of the world's 6000 languages expected to vanish within the next 50 years, preserving and documenting the languages of the world is critically important for linguists and speakers of endangered languages. Advances in technology have enabled new, more powerful language documentation methods which improve greatly on traditional paper-only methods. We have created an on-line database of video texts, their transcriptions, analyses, and translations, and a grammar sketch for Dusner, a highly endangered Austronesian language with 3 remaining fluent speakers.
Our project has produced: (1) digital video recordings of stories and conversations in Dusner; (2) transcriptions, with free English and Indonesian translations, aligned with the video files; (3) linguistically annotated texts in two forms: one human-readable and one in standard XML format, suitable for computer analysis; (4) a glossary of basic words and affixes, an important resource in lexicographic and historical linguistic work; and (5) a grammar sketch of the core structural properties of the language (Dusner, Suriel Mofu and Mary Dalrymple, Lincom, 2012). The on-line resources were created using Toolbox, Elan, and CuPED.
The project was a collaborative effort with UNIPA (State University of Papua) and UNCEN (Cenderawasih University, Papua), and ran from October 2010 to December 2011.