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Documentation of Puma, Nepal

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Language Puma
Depositor Narayan Sharma
Affiliation SOAS, University of London
Location Nepal
Collection ID 0268
Grant ID IGS0094
Funding Body
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

Puma is a seriously endangered southern Kiranti language spoken mainly in the Khotang district of eastern Nepal. It is estimated that there are about 4000 Puma native speakers.

In order to contribute to the preservation of the Puma language, this collection contains video and audio files of their corresponding text files (Toolbox files). Some toolbox files have been glossed to show rich and complex system of verb morphology for in-depth analysis. This collection also includes ELAN files and dictionary.


Group represented

Puma (Southern Kiranti, Tibeto-Burman, Nepal)


Language information

The Puma language belongs to the Kiranti family of Tibeto-Burman, which includes more than thirty languages in East Nepal. Puma is rapidly being supplanted by Bantawa (one of the major Kiranti languages) and Nepali, the national lingua franca. Nevertheless, the language community still has a distinct culture with a rich oral tradition, maintained by a decreasing number of knowledgeable elders, priests, and shamans.


Special characteristics

Very complex and rich morphology, rich oral tradition, ritual song (Hopmacham).


Collection contents

This collection includes audio and video recordings of Puma speakers on different geners such as autobiography, description, narrative, folk tale, ritual, song, poem, and conversation. Most of them are transcribed and translated into Nepali and English which have been interlinearised and annotated to show complex morphological features of this language. This annotated corpus will be useful for comparative and typological study of Kiranti languages. The collection comprises over 130 audio files, 100 video files, 25 ELAN files, 35 toolbox glossed files, as well as number of images covering Puma people, culture, daily life, household, surrounding etc. Over 80 speakers aged between 20 and 95 were recorded for the collection, selecting both males and females from preliterate to highly educated backgrounds.


Collection history

This project aims to carry out in-depth analysis of morpho-syntax of the Puma language. Prior to this project, materials on the Puma language have also been collected by the Volkswagen DoBeS-funded-project Chintang and Puma Documentation Project (CPDP). ELDP-funded project bridged a gap of earlier project and collected new data for collection.


Other information

People were very positive and supportive towards this project, contributing and sharing their knowledge and heritage, and being so caring and hospitable during recording period.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users are requested to acknowledge as ‘Data collected and deposited by Narayan Sharma’, when citing any resources (audio and/or video and text etc.) from the collection.

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

Sharma, Narayan. 2013. Documentation of Puma, Nepal. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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