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Documentation of the flora and fauna of Gongduk


Language Gongduk
Depositor Karma Tshering
Affiliation University of Sydney
Location Bhutan
Collection ID 0353
Grant ID IGS0216
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This project produces the first documentation of the Gongduk language, an endangered language spoken in a remote region of Eastern Bhutan. Gongduk is spoken by a small group of indigenous native speakers in the remote pockets of South-Eastern Bhutan. Among many other undocumented languages of Bhutan, Gongduk is considered highly endangered with less than 500 speakers, who use the language in everyday basis today. The precise classification of the language still remains unknown, though it is tentatively considered a Tibeto-Burman isolate. For example, we speculate it may be a Tibeto-Burman isolate or perhaps possess a substrate with unknown roots.

With the help of Endangered Languages Documentation Project (ELDP) in London and the Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC) in Thimphu, it has been made possible to run this project to create a record of the language before it vanishes. I have been able to collect qualitative and quantitative linguistic data and materials such as elicitations, interviews, narrations, demonstrations, conversations, stories, riddles, and songs in the form of audio, video, photographs and field notes. The data collected from this research is archived with the DDC and the Endangered Languages Archive SOAS University of London (ELAR). Thanks to ELDP and the DDC for their timely support.


Special characteristics

The core of this project focused mainly on exploring ethnobiology and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) through linguistic knowledge of Gongduk language, producing some ethnobotanical analysis of Gongduk flora and fauna, especially surrounding two most important species for Gongduk people, a rattan species alamus acanthospathus locally known as gingri; and a bamboo species Neomicrocalamus andropogonifolius locally known as yula used in conjunction to produce bamboo products in the region. In addition to documenting the language in a variety of contexts a phonological analysis and grammatical sketch of the language has also been produced.

A phonemic orthography is developed for Gongduk language based on the phonological system of the language. It was necessary to have a writing system of its own to represent the precise sounds that are unique to this language. Therefore, a fair amount of data has also been transcribed and translated to demonstrate the language.


Acknowledgement and citation

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

Tshering, Karma. 2015. Documentation of the flora and fauna of Gongduk. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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