Documentation and description of Dulong (Trung)
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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.
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.
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
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: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-0002-CA17-B. Accessed on [insert date here].