The Fataluku Language Project

Dr. van Engelenhoven received an NWO grant for the Fataluku language project.

Project data

Full title The Fataluku Language Project
Duration 2005-2009
Nature NWO ELP
Project leader Dr. van Engelenhoven
Project member(s) Dr. Stoel


Project summary

This project focuses on the documentation of the oral traditions in the 'heartland' (Com-Tutuala-Loree) of the non-Austronesian Fataluku language in the easternmost district in the republic of East Timor. Fataluku oral traditions, being the high variant of the language, are the key to knowledge management and transfer. Lack of traditionally qualified language specialists and 'candidate students', intensification of language concealment as a means of knowledge maintenance -albeit failingly- and marginalization of traditional powers in society have lead to a situation in which a) Tetum, the language of education and government, is removing Fataluku from society, b) the low variant of the capital's dialect is ousting the high variants in the other four dialects from the ritual domains.
This project intends, besides publications for the scientific community on grammar and language ecology, to provide for the Fataluku community a) a multi-media database of Fataluku oral traditions that partly becomes available to the community in the form of schoolbook texts and cassette tapes, b) an accompanying thesaurus from which is extracted a bilingual dictionary, ritual lexicon and manual on Fataluku oral traditions, c) workshops on language awareness, maintenance and documentation. The project intends to provide a model for the East Timorese government to start language documentation projects throughout the country.

Last Modified: 26-08-2014