Empowering comprehensive documentation of Kun-barlang

Isabel O’Keeffe, Linda Barwick and Ruth Singer

Funded by the Endangered Languages Documentation Program, UK 2016-2018

This project aims to empower Indigenous youth to create a comprehensive pan-varietal, ethnobiological, anthropological record of Kun-barlang through training in low-cost language documentation technology. Kun-barlang is a highly endangered language spoken in northwestern Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Fewer than 60 speakers remain and most are elderly, so the need to annotate existing materials and create new recordings is urgent. Younger people will be trained and supported in the use of low-cost language documentation technology. Particular emphasis will be on documenting the full range of remaining varieties and registers, including the undocumented ‘widow’s language,’ as well as language in the domains of kinship, ethnobiology, music and public ceremony.

isobel okeefe

Kun-barlang speaker, Shirley Mawuli, working with Isabel O’Keeffe at the Warruwi School (South Goulburn Island) in 2014.