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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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FYI: Phonemica: Documenting and Preserving China's Dialects


Author: Kellen Parker

Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation

FYI Body: Dear All,

My name is Kellen Parker. I am a graduate student in the Institute of Linguistics at Tsinghua University in Taiwan. I have been working more than two years on a web-based project to record stories from all over China and the Chinese diaspora. At present we have stories in Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Hakka, Gan and Xiang, and we're always adding more. The project website is at http://phonemica.net.

The stories are group-sourced: i.e. recorded and donated by volunteers. We accept any stories with clear audio quality and permission to use. Transcription, like recording, is also being done through crowdsourcing. Transcripts can be edited by anyone who creates an account.

We have just under 50 recordings up now but have begun recruiting volunteers to help us gather more. Our goal is to have 500 by this time next year. This year we're finally at a point where we can push for more of a presence on Chinese-language social sites and web forums to increase our visibility among potential contributors. We are also cooperating with faculty at Beijing University specializing in documentation of folktales. We are anticipating approximately 100 additional recordings from students at the end of the semester.

Right now we're also running a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo in order to raise money for new equipment and basic operating costs. More information on that is here: http://igg.me/at/phonemica

If you could pass this on to anyone who might have an interest in such a project, we would greatly appreciate it.

Regards,

Kellen Parker
National Tsinghua University
Hsinchu, Taiwan ROC

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