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A multi-modal documentation of Jejuan conversations

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Language Jejuan (제주어/제주돗말/제주방언)
Depositor Soung-U Kim (김성우)
Affiliation SOAS University of London
Location South Korea, Jeju Island (대한민국 제주특별자치도 제주도)
Collection ID 0351
Grant ID IGS0208
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This project aims at building an annotated audio-video corpus of spoken Jejuan with a focus on conversational genres, supplementing existing documentation of narratives and songs. Jejuan is spoken on several islands of Jeju Province of South Korea, with a number of diaspora speakers in Osaka, Japan, and was recognised as a critically endangered language by UNESCO in 2010. There are approximately 5000 to 10,000 speakers, with fluent speakers all above the age of 70. The current corpus focuses on the Northeastern region of Jeju Island.


Group represented

This corpus records mainly elderly speakers of their early seventies to late nineties, residing in three different locations of Jeju Island, South Korea. The location where most recordings were taken is Jimnyeong (Gimnyeong, Gujwa-Eup, Jeju City) in the Northeast of the island, followed by Sukkun (Sinchon, Jocheon-Eup, Jeju City) North-North-East Jeju Island. A few recordings were made in Yeolluni (Onpyeong, Seongsan-Eup, Seogwipo City) in the Southeast. Jeju regional identity among islanders is fairly strong (especially among elderly inhabitants), although all islanders identify ethnically as Korean. Note that Jeju Island looks back to a complex historical relationship with the Korean peninsula, being incorporated into mainland kingdoms from 12th century BCE, and serving as a place of exile for several centuries. Treated as a colony, its inhabitants were regarded uncivilised and rebellious up until the 20th century when tensions culminated in an uprising and a devastating counter-insurgency known as the 4.3 incident, which were massacres killing large parts of the population, burning down almost all of villages inland, and driving many islanders to emigration. While reconciliation efforts are ongoing, these factors have crucially contributed to the demise of Jejuan.


Collection contents

Most sessions have been recorded both on video and audio. Almost all such sessions deposited are accessible freely, except for cases such as jeju0045 where one of the speakers explicitly asked not be shown visually. The following types of content can be found in this collection:

  • Conversations
  • Songs and rituals
  • Grammatical elicitations
  • Stimulus-based elicitations
  • Procedural texts
  • Narratives and recollections

Targeted towards users either from the Korean-speaking realm or with active involvement in Korean studies, transcribed annotations focus on providing an IPA transcription, a Korean script transcription of Jejuan, and a Korean translation into Korean script. An expanding subset of these annotations is being enriched with English translations. A number of recordings have been fully annotated, including an interlinearisation process using FLEx.


Collection history

The collection material was collected on fieldwork between September 2014 and December 2014 (jeju0001-jeju0077), as well as June 2015 and January 2016. Annotations are being added continuously.


Other information

Due to the demographics of Jeju Island (partly due to socio-historical reasons), many speakers recorded are female. Also, note that many of the elicitation sessions are guided by the thesis work of the depositor on finiteness in Jejuan adverbial clause linkage.

Note that in annotations, names except for the depositor’s one have been anonymised to ‘000’, which is a practice that I kindly ask to maintain as an act of respect towards the speakers.


Acknowledgement and citation

Special thanks to the Jimnyeong, Sukkun and Yeolluni communities who were so generous to spend their time, attention and valuable knowledge on this work. Moreover, I am grateful for the support of Yeong-Bong Kang, Sun-Ja Kim, Chang-Yong Yang, Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Peter Austin, Irina Nikolaeva, Jaehoon Yeon, Jenny Martin, Sophie Salffner and Vera Ferreira.

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Soung-U Kim as the principal investigator and researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by employing the three-letter code+number used in this corpus. This collection is to be cited as:

Kim, Soung-U. 2018. A multi-modal documentation of Jejuan conversations. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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