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Documentation and description of Dulong (Trung)


Language Dulong
Depositor Ross Perlin
Affiliation University of Bern
Location China
Collection ID 0235
Grant ID IGS0053
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

Dulong (Trung) is a Tibeto-Burman language of the little-known Nungish branch, spoken in Gongshan Nu and Dulong Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, China, in villages alongside the Nu and Dulong rivers. With around 6,000 speakers, and an additional 6,000 or so speakers of the closely related variety Gongshan Nu, Dulong is starting to give way to Southwest Mandarin Chinese, Standard Mandarin, and Northern Lisu. While the language is still in full use by the community, this project aimed at the creation of a comprehensive multimedia documentation that can serve as a basis for language maintenance efforts and provide data previously unavailable to scholars and others interested in the language.

The language is a rich repository of folklore, song, and tradition in a region where hunter-gatherer and slash-and-burn subsistence predominated until very recently. The language is still spoken to some degree by most Dulong and is a strong identity marker, but it is beginning to encounter some of the pressures which have led to language loss among minority groups across China. LaPolla (2000) lists seven major Nungish languages/dialects: Mvtwang, Wvdamkong, Longmi, Dvru (Ganung), Tangsarr, Dulong (Trung), and Kwinpang (Anong), of which the first five are spoken primarily or perhaps exclusively in Burma’s Kachin State by members of the official Rawang ethnic group.

独龙语(Trung,来自独龙族的自称 Tvrung)属于藏缅语系。独龙语使用者居于中国云南省怒江傈僳族自治州贡山独龙族怒族自治县的独龙河流域的几十个村落。独龙语及其相关语言尚未被外界很好地理解,但其保留了许多藏缅语族最古老的特征。中国政府官方认定的独龙族人口约为7000,包括了很多现在不住在独龙族传统聚居地的人。另一群人数相近的聚居于怒江河谷东岸的怒族人也说着跟独龙语关系密切但又有明显差异的贡山怒语。这尝试记录了独龙江沿岸数千独龙语使用者的语言差异,尤以三乡方言为重点。


Language information

Dulong is a Tibeto-Burman language variety spoken in Gongshan Nu and Dulong Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, China, in villages alongside the Nu and Dulong rivers. With under 10,000 speakers, the language is vulnerable to the encroachment of Lisu and Southwest Mandarin Chinese.


Special characteristics

This collection is multi-lingual (Tibetan, Lisu, Gongshan Nu, Anong) and multi-dialectal (First, Third, and Fourth Township Dulong), reflecting the linguistic situation of this particular corner of northwest Yunnan province, one of China’s most linguistically diverse area. In addition to audio and video recordings, including a portion that are transcribed, translated, and anlayzed, the collection also includes a draft version of the Tvrung kvt cv’tyeng (Concise Trung-English-Chinese Dictionary, edited by the Trung Dictionary Committee. The underlying Fieldworks (FLEx) database will also be made available. The dictionary can also be accessed online


Collection history

Between 2007 and 2011, during several extended periods of fieldwork, I researched Dulong on the Chinese side of the border, making extensive audio and video recordings, particularly of the Third Township dialect of Dulong, an SOV language which preserves substantial parts of the ancient Tibeto-Burman lexicon and syllable canon.


Acknowledgement and citation

This work was supported in part by the Firebird Foundation and a Luce/American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Perlin, Ross. 2013. Documentation and description of Dulong (Trung). Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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