Documenting Kim and Bom

~~ Tucker Childs, Principal Investigator

Portland State University, Department of Applied Lingiuistics

  1. Krim - Kim

  2. Historical Background
  3. The Kim Today
  4. Kim Language
  5. South Atlantic
  6. Bom Language
  7. Goals
  8. Methods
  9. Consultants
  10. People
  11. Publications and presentations
  12. Support
  13. Links
  14. References

Krim / Kim

A few remarks on Nomenclature:.

“Krim”, the most widely used name for the Kim people and their language, is not a word in the Kim language and will not be used here. There is no sound “r” (phoneme /r/) in the Kim language, nor are there any such sequences of consonants (clusters). Although /r/ is found in Mani and most transparently in the closely related and geographically proximate Sherbro, it is found only in the northern dialect of Kisi, and thus possibly may have once been a contrastive sound or may have been a dialect feature. The pronunciation “Krim” appeared several times in the speech of the project’s oldest speaker of Kim, Seku Abdullai Will.

Other attested names are “Kim”, “Kittim”, “Kirim”, and “Kimi” according to the on-line version of Ethnologue (Gordon 2005). Their own name for themselves is “Kim” [kìm], the other names likely having their source in the imperfect rendering of early explorers or later English colonists. During our research on Kim (2006-10), we heard only Mende, Krio, or English speakers refer to the ethnicity as “Krim”. Many Sierra Leoneans know only the Sherbro in this part of the country, and may call others “Bullom”, which group also includes the Mani. [See “Linguistic interest” / “The Kim language”.]

  Historical Background

Little is known about the history of the Kim people beyond a few generations back, that which can be preserved in people’s memories, although a few historical records exist. The best source for information about the early history of the Kim people is Adam Jones, who bases his research on oral interviews conducted in the 1970s. Jones writes that Kim country once began just northwest of the area he calls “Galinhas”, which has a border with the Kim at the Kerefe River (also known as the Gallinas), more like a stream with maybe a slight tidal estuary, just northwest up the coast (Jones 1983).

Today the area is entirely Mende speaking, if not ethnically Mende, as is the rest of the traditional Kim area. The Kim area then extended northwestwards along the coast until the Bom chiefdom, likely well before the mouth of the Sewa River, and inland from the coast twenty or thirty miles. Today there are five chiefdoms considered to be Kim chiefdoms, despite the fact that few have any Kim speakers and most of the political power is in the hands of non-Kim. One chiefdom, Kwamebai, the only chiefdom to have appreciable numbers of Kim speakers, is in Bonthe District and the four others in Pujehun District (Mano Sa Krim, Panga Krim, Yekomo Kpukumu Krim, and Kpanga Kagonde). At least one of the chiefdoms, Kwamebai Chiefdom, is an amalgam of three earlier chiefdoms, Kwako, Messina, and Baima Chiefdoms, amalgamated by the British colonials to better effect their control over the Kim.

The first ethnolinguistic evidence of a people who spoke Kim is in the early 18th century, when explorers registered people as “Clim” and “Bolm” (the Bom and/or Bolem) (Jones 1983:17). There has been some confusion over whom the name “Bolem” or “Bullom” designates, partially due to the similar name given to a language, “Bom”. Virtually all of the coastal Atlantic languages of Sierra Leone, except Temne, extending to across the border in Guinea have been called “Bullom” or the like. The Mani language is still known as “Bullom So” in Ethnologue (Gordon 2005), a major reference work, because of its mixture with Soso, a Mande language of Guinea (Iverson and Cameron 1986, discussed in Childs To appear).

Linguists use the name “Bullom” as an intermediate classification level above that of a language and below that of a phylum, a level grouping languages genetically unrelated to other phyla. Thus, the Bullom sub-group contains four languages and can be subdivided into two groups. The first, “Northern”, contains one language of focus, Bom, and the second contains the other language of focus Kim (their “Krim”). (See the full classification below.) It is likely “Bullom” consists of two languages, Mani (“Bullom So” above) and a dialect continuum of Sherbro-Bullom-Kim and likely an additional variety, Sei, spoken on Bothe Island within what is considered the Sherbro area.

More recent history characterizes the Kim as isolated and even withdrawn. According to Alie 1990, the Kim were called "Akima", meaning ‘those who ran away’, by the Sherbro, a nearby and linguistically related group once heavily involved in the slave trade. The flight of the Kim provided them with peace and isolation during slaving days, only to be disturbed by RUF (Revolutionary United Front) forces, the “rebels”, in the civil war beginning in 1991. The Kim were forced into active resistance as their children were abducted and their leaders were killed (see Beah 2007). The Kim were reputedly the first in the area to actually kill some “rebels”. The Kim did so by luring the rebels into boats with flattery and promises, and then overturning the boats when out of sight of the other fighters. The rebels laden down with armaments and other equipment were weighted down unable to swim and drowned.

The Kim Today

The area the Kim people occupy today is pristine and relatively uninhabited. To Westerners much of the area seems as unspoiled as a wildlife sanctuary. Fish and birds feeding on the fish and other swamp life abound in the swampy areas: storks, herons, ibis, ducks, geese, etc., are everywhere! One border of the Kim area is the Atlantic Ocean and from the ocean fishermen bring back sizeable specimens of such fish as the ladyfish and large versions of such shellfish as lobsters and crabs. Deer and other small mammals are found in the drier areas, and people catch and eat various reptiles and amphibians.

Inaccurate Maps

On the most detailed map available (Claussen 2001), most of the Kim area appears as an uninhabited swamp! Population centers are inconsistently represented: many towns are not shown and many other hamlets (less than ten houses) have been vaulted into international prominence on the map. Benduma, the Kwamebai Chiefdom headquarters, on sizeable Lake Baima (shown on the map), does not appear. The political unit of “chiefdom” is one level below that of “district”, and in Sierra Leone there are fourteen districts; both Kwamebai and Bom Chiefdoms are in Bonthe District. Other political centers do not appear.

Bodies of water and waterways are also shown inaccurately on maps. Some of this is due to seasonal variation; during the rainy season the lakes fill up and many rivers once again become navigable by dugout canoe. Even the Google maps based on satellite pictures are imprecise because they are patchworks of pictures taken at different times of the year.
The Kim area has the Atlantic Ocean on one side. Proceeding inland one finds the Waanje River and its associated floodplain. The Waanje ends in a broad tidal estuary some sixty miles northwest of where it bends inland from the coast, and for that entire distance it is separated from the sea by what becomes Turner’s Peninsula at its mouth. In several places the distance between the Waanje and the sea is as little as two miles. In the town of Tei on the Waanje one can hear the waves as they crash on the shore and the engines of the (likely pirate) fishing trawlers.

Alta Agua

The low-lying level land extends well inland becoming grassy swamps during the alta agua and is traversed by sandy ridges paralleling the coast. The high water season is roughly July to October, lagging slightly behind the rainy season since the rise is caused not by local precipitation but by rains in the interior far upstream. The rainy season on the coast can begin as early as May and can last until November. Rains are heavy in the Kim area, at the high end of the range for this part of West Africa, estimated between 3,500 mm/160 inches and 4,000 mm/180 inches per annum (British Broadcasting Corporation 2009). The rains are typically accompanied by strong winds.

With all the water movement (the Waanje is tidal as it parallels the sea), the landscape has changed even during historical times. Towards the end of the slaving period in the early 19th century, the Waanje River is reported as entering the sea near Lake Mape (Jones 1983), well upstream and southeast along the coast from its present day entry near Bonthe Island. Ten miles inland from the coast begin the lateritic soils found throughout West Africa.

Once the waters have receded at the end of the high-water season (October-November) , the network of shallow waterways is replaced by a network of narrow paths through grasslands that can be traversed on foot. Two parts part of the historical Kim area have been advanced as potential nature sanctuaries or “Marine Protected Area”, namely, the “Sewa-Waanje Game Reserve MPA” in the northern part of the area and the “Lake Mape and Lake Mabesi MPA” in the south.

Environmental Threats

There are, however, hints of trouble in paradise. There is the prospect of overfishing both on the ocean and on the inland rivers and swamps. Spanish and Portuguese trawlers scoop up vast quantities of fish offshore and local fishermen have been told by Europeans not to catch the lobsters and crabs found along the coast, presumably because the shellfish are the object of their mission as well. Furthermore, officials representing the Ministry of Fisheries in Sierra Leone have visited the major towns in the area on several occasions during the research period (2006-09).

Their purpose at all times was to warn the locals of overfishing. They would tell the locals that fishing with a small bore fishing net (“two fingers”) was no longer allowed and that fisherman using such nets would be jailed. (The warning had little effect.) Finally, the grassy floodplain of the Waanje is one of the last areas of refuge for the African dugong or sea cow. During the research period two dugongs were caught, both of which, we were told, were not fully grown. Old people in the town of Tei, site of the DKB headquarters, tell of seeing larger African dugongs when they were young. Because dugongs reach sexual maturity at 9-17 years of age and reproduce at the best of times at a rate of only 5% per year, prospects for their survival are not strong.

Most of the larger towns are beside lakes or other waterways, and dugout canoes are used for fishing on both the ocean and fresh waters. They also form the main means of transportation as the heavy dugouts are poled through the heavy grass. There is a set of launches that ply the Waanje all the way from Bonthe upriver to Gbundapi carrying goods to the Gbundapi market on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Kim Language

…the Kim language spoken by my informants was a true image of the people – no future, nearly no past, and even no real present – only existence in different shades (Pichl 1972: iii  [the only description of Kim]). 

As with other small Atlantic groups of Niger-Congo, the Kim and Bom today inhabit the least hospitable parts of their former domain, namely, the coastal mangrove swamps of the southern Sierra Leone tidal plain. (Because virtually nothing is known about the Bom, what I will say in what follows deals almost exclusively with the Kim, but documenting Bom represents a project goal.) The Sherbro, a nearby and linguistically related group once heavily involved in the slave trade, call the Kim “Akima” meaning ‘those who ran away’. This flight provided them with peace and isolation during slaving days, but they were forced into active resistance during the recent civil war.

In fact, the Kim were reputedly the first to kill “rebels”, luring them into boats with flattery and promises, and then overturning the boats when out of sight of others. They keep their independence today by living on (wild) cassava and fish with little outside contact. The Kim also preserve the centrality of palm wine consumption to rituals and public events, a practice once common to other related groups but now disappearing in the face of Muslim proselytizing. Thus, the Kim form a unique and undocumented culture likely soon to disappear without a trace.

The Kim language has some linguistic interest for its status as a tone language, its noun classes and verb extensions, and its “split predicate” ( Gensler 1994, 1997 ). The last-named is a alternative or even basic structure of S-Aux-O-V in conjunction with SVO, basic to the Mande languages but also found in Atlantic ( Childs 2004 ) and rare elsewhere ( Gensler and Güldemann 2003 ). The linguistic details of the tangled and somewhat troubled interactions of Atlantic speakers with Mande speakers (infiltration, military conquest, jihads, slavery; Mende is a Mande language) are here played out again with disastrous consequences for another Atlantic language ( Childs 1995, 2002 ).

Study of contact with Mende could also illuminate how and why speakers change their language, a recurrent issue in the long-standing, turbulent interaction between Mande and Atlantic . Furthermore, Kim data used from a historical-comparative perspective could reveal the relationships within Southern Atlantic and the identity of Atlantic as a whole. For sociolinguists the role of gender in language preservation is of interest since it is Kim men rather than women who have maintained the language, a correlation perhaps related to earlier Atlantic matrilineality and to the influence of Islam on this pattern.

The story of Kim is one of language shift leading to language death over the course of two hundred years. During his research on the history of Galinhas, Jones noted a late stage of the shift to Mende and the death of Kim:

In the past 150 years the Mende language has penetrated into much of the Krim country, and the number of Krim speakers today may well be less than a thousand … … [vs. Vai and Mende] by no means everyone who calls himself Krim can speak Krim (Jones 1983:8).

The grimmest assessment of the language was that quoted above and repeated here. It comes from a German field worker who spent several weeks at the edge of the Kim-speaking area in Tei.

...the Krim language spoken by my informants was a true image of the people – no future, nearly no past, and even no real present – only existence in different shades (Pichl 1972: iii).

A Moribund Language

We found the language to be virtually dead. Even the very best speakers we identified, numbering some twenty or so, did not speak Kim on a regular basis. These were people all over fifty who had learned Kim as children and spoke it then as a daily language. Some of the women indicated that they had gone through initiation in Kim and thus had used the language into their adolescence. These individuals are today what could be thought of as “rusty” speakers of limited competence, sometimes called “semi-speakers” in the writing about language death (Sasse 1992).

A linguistic characterization. Kim may have once been a tone language but tone has only limited lexical and grammatical functions in the language as it now exists. Accent now seems to be the crucial prosodic distinction. In the way of morphology, Kim has a noun class system with nine noun classes, and its verbs may be affixed with at least three distinct verb extensions. Tense and aspect distinctions are marked with preverbal particles. In the way of syntax Kim has an unexceptional focus system involving fronting, but at the phrasal level Kim has at least a partial “split predicate” structure (Gensler 1994, 1997), in that object pronouns appear between the auxiliary and the lexical predicate (S-Aux-O-V). This word order can be seen as a supplement to the dominant SVO (Subject-Verb-Object), the more widespread and even basic word order, used when objects are lexical and “tense” is marked on verbs, i.e., there is no auxiliary.

Genetic classification. A current classification from Ethnologue (Gordon 2005, accessed 25 July 2009). The display contains what is called there “The Southern Branch” of the Atlantic Group of Niger-Congo, the largest phylum in Africa and in the world. “Southern Branch” has recently been analyzed as a separate branching off the Niger-Congo stem (Blench 2006), the analysis accepted here. It is now referred to as “South Atlantic”.


Bom is a language closely related to Kim and was rumored to be spoken in the same area as Kim and thus originally appeared to be a relatively low-hanging target of this study. An encouraging sign during a pilot study in (Jan 2006) was that one of the eight people we interviewed claimed to be bilingual in Kim and Bom (Bete Masale; her mother was Bom). Virtually nothing was known about Bom, so documenting the language formed a project goal, albeit it secondary to the goal of documenting Kim.

At this point in the investigation (July 2009), the Bom area has (regrettably) not been so fully studied as the Kim area. The reasons are several. First of all, the literature indicates that there are virtually no Bom speakers to be found. The language was not investigated in Iverson and Cameron 1986, but the Ethnologue states there are 250 speakers out of a 5,000 member ethnic group according to a 1991 source (Gordon 2005). The language was said to be dead, and thus research on Bom was given a secondary place to the Kim documentation effort. As research on Kim proceeded, however, the project found that the language was plainly more vital than Kim, and research on Bom was undertaken in earnest only during the second year of the project.

Secondly, during the second year, the project entertained three sets of visitors who interrupted the focus on Bom. The first was a producer from the Voice of America (see below), the second was a set of students from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, and the third was a journalist from the New York Times/International Herald Tribune. All of these visits took away from the time that could be spent on fieldwork and analysis.

Finally, the DKB research headquarters had been established close to the core Kim-speaking area but relatively distant from the Bom-speaking area. Simply getting to the Bom area took a very long day and usually two – canoeing and walking to the Kim areas took only a half-day at most.

Bom Documentation Proceeding

Thus, for all of these reasons Bom has not yet received the amount of attention accorded to Kim. Nonetheless, the documentation effort has proceeded apace. The Bom-speaking community is generally more receptive to the documentation effort and have been extremely cooperative in assisting the project. There are more Bom speakers, and they generally speak their language more easily than the Kim speakers speak theirs. The Bom speakers are also more concentrated, and we were able to quickly identify where there were concentrations of speakers.

With regard to analysis, because Bom is linguistically similar to Kim – the two varieties may be dialects of a single language – the analysis has been relatively straightforward. Documentation of the language was greatly assisted by the VOA video recordings. They provided additional audio recordings that could be transcribed and used for analysis.

Because so much that can be said about the Bom people and the Bom area is similar to what can be said about the Kim (and has already been said), the reader is referred to the preceding section for further details. What follows is only a few comments remarking on the differences.

The Bom area has basically the same physical geography as the Kim area, but is on the whole more elevated and a bit further away from the coast, thus for the most part beyond the swampy lowlands on the lateritic soils of the inland. The Bom people base their economy on cassava and fish, much like the Kim, but are much more likely to be farmers than fishermen.

Because of its physical location the Bom area is accessible by road and has been the focus of many more development efforts than the Kim area. Local leaders, in fact, actively seek development funds. The daughter of the Bom-speaking town chief of Sogbaleh, for example, was recently (2009) elected liaison officer empowered to deal with outside granting agencies, i.e., NGOs who would be providing aid to the area. No such sophistication and no such position could be found in the Kim area. Nonetheless or maybe due to this community activism, the Bom people have a tighter grip on their language and culture than the Kim.

Although many of the same things could be said about the status of Bom as could be said about Kim, e.g., few active speakers, the language is in a healthier state and could be revived. Speakers of Bom form a lively and energetic core in several towns the project visited (Sampor, Sogbaleh, and Bengeh). Many community leaders are in fact Bom speakers, e.g., Section Chief Alfred Kamara of Dudia, who are interested in the preservation of their language and culture.

Although the language has been documented in the area abutting the Kwamebai Chiefdom, the Bom survey is incomplete. Still needed is an assessment of the language in the area surrounding Torma Bum.


The DKB has the following goals: 

  1. Documentation. The Kim and Bom languages will be recorded in various media (audio recordings, videotapes, and still photography), all to be archived finally in digital format in local communities (in community-determined formats), at national and international sites, and at the PI’s home university [ Portland State ]. Variety and representativeness will be sought in terms of both genre and speakers. Analysis and dissemination to the world academic community will follow.

  2. Collaboration. This will be done at various levels of stakeholder constituencies. At the most immediate level, consultancy, guidance, and cooperation will be sought, as it will be at the university level. It is hoped that this involvement will lead to some commitment beyond the project itself.

  3. Training. Native and non-native participants will be trained in how to do linguistic fieldwork, in accordance with their backgrounds and abilities. This training includes data collection, analysis, and materials production. This will allow project participants to carry on the work (or related work) at the end of the project, as well as equip them with the skills and resources with which to maintain or revitalize Bom, Kim, or any other language. In addition, project materials will revert to communities at both the local and university levels, so that resources are available for a continuation of the project’s activities and a reaffirmation of language and culture.


This section provides a short overview of the methodology of the DKB with regard to the linguistic side of the documentation effort. Not discussed here are the many preliminary and ongoing efforts at building local communities and trust, nor is anything said about the logistics of setting up the project, e.g., setting up a solar power system and building a house.

Stage One

The first stage of the project was to identify speakers of the two languages. In this we relied on the evaluations of local consultants and then set up linguistic interviews with the identified speakers. Because most of the speakers were old and scattered about in many small towns, this meant travelling for as much as an entire day to get to their towns. We interviewed over a hundred people, only twenty or so of whom were deemed sufficiently fluent to serve as participants in the second stage.

Stage Two:

The second stage consisted primarily of recording and transcription. The recordings were typically done in the language consultants’ towns, where team members would stay for several days as they conducted the recordings and sometimes began the transcriptions. In most cases, however, we invited consultants to come stay with us at the DKB headquarters in Tei, where we could work with fewer distractions.

Only one Kim speaker was able to speak English and thus the amount of elicitation that could be done was quite limited. No Bom speaker could speak English well enough to serve as a reliable consultant. The language data from these elicitation sessions and recordings were used to build up a sufficiently large data base on which to base an analysis, which was greatly assisted by the SIL software known as “Flex”, an interlinearizing and dictionary-producing program. Natural conversations were sought as much as possible, but much of the data consists of performances of one type or another. At the same time we sought ethnographic data that could inform the analysis and also supply material for the documentation of the culture.


The seven individuals pictured here formed part of the group interviewed during the piloting of the project in January of 2006. All subjects were interviewed in Mende by Taziff Koroma and a few in halting English/Krio by Childs.

Bete Masale

Bete Masale is 73 years old and lives in Ndema, Bonthe District. Her birth name is “Kwako” and she has traveled very little over the course of her life. Bete’s father was a Kim speaker, and her mother spoke Bom. She spoke Kim around her parents but understands both Kim and Bom. Her husband speaks both Kim and Mende but they spoke Mende around their children. She has more five children, some of whom have moved away and none of whom speak Kim. Bete does not speak Kim with anyone else anymore, using Mende exclusively, and says she misses speaking the language. She says that she is sad about the language disappearing.

Bernald Momo

Bernald Momo is over fifty years old and did not form part of the original set of people to be interviewed. He presently lives in Gbundapi, where the interviews were conducted and where he works as a wood carver. He was born in Tawahun, Kwako Section in Kwamebai Chiefdom, has some education, speaks Krio and some English. His parents were both Krim and his mother never spoke Mende, and his father spoke some. He is now married but his wife and children don't speak Krim. Bernald speaks Kim only when he gets together with the drinking friends (he does not seem to be a core member of the group since he lives in Gbundapi). He said Kim is not used at any special festivals, but that it was once used in worship, in libations, and at burials. Older women still know how to keen in Kim – one of the older ladies said she would do it for us. In the male and female initiation societies children learn to sing in Kim. Bernald speaks Kim to his children, but they have no interest in the language. (During the interview session, whenever someone would speak Krim, all of the children gathered around would laugh.) Bernald feels bad about the loss of the language and everything that is going with it; he really regrets it disappearing. He said it's an ancient language.


Arthur P. Moiwo is a fifty-year-old teacher who no longer teaches because of vision problems. He now sells various medications and spends most of his time drinking in the town of Nyandehun, the town where he was born and still lives. He has been educated up to Form 5 (fifth year of secondary school) and has traveled some in the area. He speaks Krio and a little English in addition to both Kim and Mende. Both his parents were Kim and spoke Kim to him and to their four other children, but he claims he was the only one who responded to them in Krim. He continues to speak Kim with his drinking companions, who form an informal Kim social club. He expressed a great interest in helping us with the project.

Boakai Mahunlo

Boakai Mahunlo is a 70-year-old fisherman who lives in Kwako, a town in Kwamebai Chiefdom. He was born in Bonthe District and given the birth name Ndeman. He has not traveled much and has received no formal education. Both Boakai’s father and mother were Krim speakers, but neither his wife nor his two children speak Kim. He speaks it only to other people when he finds out they can speak it, but also to the ancestors "because it's the only language they understand." Boakai also speaks Mende and Sherbro.

Jusu Fandewo

Jusu Fandewo is over sixty years old. He was born in the Kwako area and has not traveled much, although he travelled locally as a drummer performing at burials and other ceremonies. Both his parents were Krim and his wife (now deceased) was Krim. He speaks Krim to his children and his nieces and nephews, but complains that young people tend to mock him and anyone else when they speak Krim. He does not know many stories but does know some songs in Krim. He enjoys palm wine, and is part of the Kim drinking group.

Soh Kolia

Over sixty-five years old, Soh Kolia is a cassava and rice farmer who lives in Mosenten, Saahantu Section. He was born in Mosenten and has lived there all his life. He speaks Kim only to friends who speak it, but he and his wife speak only Krim to each other. His wife, Fasia Kolia, is also Kim, and was married to Soh's brother before he died. However, Fasia spoke Mende with her children as soon as they started nursing. His children don't listen to him and his wife when they speak Kim. Instead they pretend that they don't understand it, laugh and say they don’t need it.

Fasia Kolia

Fasia Kolia was born and continues to live in Mosenten, where she harvests [wild] cassava in the bush. She has never traveled. Both of her parents were Kim, and she speaks Mende with what Mende speakers consider to be a Kim accent. She enjoys the language and always speaks Kim to her husband Soh Kolia. Nonetheless, she has pointedly spoken Mende to her children from the time they were nursing. She and her husband have been happily married for over 40 years and are still deeply in love. When asked why they came together, she said it was because they couldn’t stand to be separated. (Fasia turned out later to be one of the very best speakers of Kim and hardly the devoted wife she says here.)


Publications and presentations


The DKB has received generous funding from the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Programme, SOAS, University of London, and from the “Documenting Endangered Languages” (DEL) initiative sponsored jointly by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Additionally the DKB has been greatly assisted by the Voice of America in Washington, DC. They have helped in the video component of the documentation effort by providing both personnel and equipment. Video blogs of that effort can be seen at the VOA news web site (accessed 25 July 2009); eventually VOA will produce a (video) documentary on the project to be broadcast throughout Africa.

Linguistics Publishing, Inc., in the person of John Jason Jordan, has been extremely generous in publishing sturdy local materials without charge, i.e., those for use by the community members themselves. He follows up doing the same pro bono publishing for a preceding project, the Mani Documentation Project in the Samu, a region straddling the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea. The project and the Kim community are deeply thankful for his generosity.


2. Change “Electronic Metastructure for Endangered Languages Data (EMELD)” to “EMELD (Electronic Metastructure for Endangered Languages Data)”.

3. Change “The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Language Archiving Technology Portal” to “Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Language Archiving”, and the following text to,

“The Language Archiving Technology (LAT) Group at MPI, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, creates and develops software tools for both field linguistics and long-term language archiving.”

Lost Voices” is a four-part video blog that was originally transmitted by VOA executive producer Bart Childs during his visit to the project in March-April 2009. Childs came to produce video documentation of the project and is currently working on a documentary program on the DKB to be broadcast by VOA.

SIL International has created Ethnologue, a catalogue of the world's known languages, which has appeared as a hard-copy book but also appears as part of the SIL web site. For each language Ethnologue provides a standardized unique identifier, a list of the different names for each language, its genetic classification, etc. In addition one finds there information on numbers of speakers, the countries it is spoken in, and other demographic information.

SIL has also created a suite of software applications for the field worker, some of which have gone through several iterations. The latest version of one popular program is “Flex” (FieldWorks Language Explorer), the lexical and text tools component of SIL FieldWorks. It is extremely useful in creating dictionaries and interlinearizing texts. The DKB has made extensive use of this and several related programs.




Some helpful links for ethical issues are,


Documents for DKB


06 07 FBC Faculty of Arts Affiliation.doc


DKB letter from PC Mme Minah.jpg


DKB letter from  PC Kaikai.jpg


Kim map.jpg




Mani Grammar ToC.pdf


Metadata for photos - folders.pdf



Tucker Childs, Documentation of Mani, Kim and Bom Languages

updated: 26-Jul-2009