search catalogue

Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito language

Deposit page image for the collection ’Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito language’. Click on image to access collection.

Juanito Villaflor and family at the coastal barangay of Dianed, Aurora Province (Photo by Harry Few, 2017). Landing page image for the collection “Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito language”. Click on image to access collection.

Language Northern Alta
Depositor Alexandro Garcia-Laguia
Affiliation University of Barcelona
Location Philippines
Collection ID 0422
Grant ID IGS0271
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Blog posts

ELDP Project Highlight: Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito Language 

Community Member Bio: Nelita Cristobal 

ELDP Project Highlight: Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito language 



Summary of the collection

The project documents daily practices and past stories of Northern Alta communities located along the rivers of Aurora province (Luzon, Northeastern Philippines). The outputs include recordings (video and audio) of monologues and some dialogues, with correspondent annotation.

The project will also include a lexical database and a sketch grammar. Additional information and updates will also be provided on the Alex Garcia’s personal website: All data and metadata will be organized with Arbil.


Group represented

Philippines Negrito, Northern Alta


Language information

Northern Alta (aqn) is an Austronesian language spoken by a group of Negrito people in the Northern Philippines. It is distantly related to Southern Alta (agy).

The Negritos are considered to be the first inhabitants of the Philippines. According to archeological and genetic evidence, they arrived to the area at least 40,000 years ago, and were probably the sole occupants until the arrival of the Austronesians, about 4,000 years ago. The Negritos then entered a period of close contact with the Austronesians, who had brought their technology with them and were in a position of power, triggering a process of language shift. Today the Philippine Negrito languages are classified as Austronesian, but most of them are poorly documented and little is known about their history.


Special characteristics

As the speakers of Alta were living in the mountains of the Sierra Madre until the nineties (when they settled down in the lowlands), the collection includes a number of recordings where the speakers describe their past life, and the differences with their current lifestyle.

Other recordings include a wide range of topics which can be browsed through the ‘topic’ block, on the left of this page. Relevant topics include hunting (dog hunting, shotgun, snare traps), fresh water fishing (with goggles or iron rod), plants and usages, searching and cutting ratan, cooking, handcrafts, and some biographical recordings.


Collection contents

This collection contains the following datasets:

  • a set of monolingual elicitation sessions (1 – 13)
  • a set of recorded wordlists (22 – 37)
  • a collections of audio recordings (14 – 21) and (38 – 68), most of which include an additional transcription tier where the modifications of native consultants are noted
  • a collection of video recordings (sessions 70 – 160)
  • several sets of photos taken at the communities between 2013 and 2016 (sessions 111 – 118)

Metadata is organized with arbil in .imdi format. Each session bundle may include a video recorded file (mp3), a converted audio file (wav), the recorded transcription (wav), the recorded translation to Tagalog (wav), some photos (jpg), some documents (pdf). File types can be visualised on the ‘type’ block on the left of this page.


Collection history

Legacy materials (audio sessions 1 – 69) were collected and annotated between 2013 and 2015.

Video recorded sessions 70 – 110 were collected annotated between March and July 2016, with the support of an ELDP grant.

The collection (sessions 1 to 118) was uploaded onto ELAR in July 2016.

Video recorded sessions 118 – 134 were collected in Dianed and Villa in April 2017 and subsequently uploaded onto the archive.

A new set of annotations for sessions 118 – 134 was uploaded onto the archive in April 2019. The dissertation “Documentation of Northern Alta: grammar, glossary and texts” was also uploaded during the same period.

Video recorded sessions 137 – 160 were uploaded onto the archive in July 2019.


Other information

None of the data from this collection can be used in a lawsuit.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of this collection should acknowledge Alex Garcia-Laguia as the researcher and Alex Garcia-Laguia and Marilyn Gallego as the data collectors.

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

Garcia-Laguia, Alexandro. 2017. Documentation of Northern Alta, a Philippine Negrito language. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

Powered by Preservica
© Copyright 2024