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Documenting Sasi


Language Sasi (ISO639-3:huc),
Depositor Chris Collins
Affiliation New York University
Location Botswana
Deposit ID 0617
Grant ID SG0576
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Forthcoming
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the deposit

The deposit includes documentation of the Sasi language, collected by Chris Collins of New York University and Andy Chebanne of the University of Botswana. Included are short sound files of words and phrases, a short dictionary and transcribed video footage of the speakers using their language.


Group represented

The speakers for this documentation project come from Mokgenene and Poloka, two settlements in southeastern Botswana. All remaining speakers are over 60 years old. Sasi is closely related to ǂHoan which is spoken in the area south and east of the Khutse game reserve (e.g., in Khekhenye, Dutlwe, Shorilatholo).


Language information

Sasi is a language whose speakers are found in eastern Botswana in and around Mokgenene, Poloka, Dibete and nearby cattle posts (as of 2016). The speakers themselves refer to the language as ŋǃaˤa. It is mutually intelligible with ǂHoan. Together with ǂHoan, it forms the ǂʔamkoe branch of Kx’a. As of 2016, there were approximate 15 speakers. Sasi has syntactic features characteristic of the non-central Khoisan languages, which include languages of the Kx’a, !Ui and Tuu groups. For example, Sasi has a rich system of verbal compounds (also known as serial verb constructions). Sasi marks (non-direct object) dependents of the verb with oblique marking (also called the linker). Lastly, Sasi has a complicated system of nominal plural marking and verbal pluractionality marking. For a preliminary grammatical description of Sasi, and a discussion of its relation to ǂHoan, see Collins and Gruber 2014.


Deposit contents

When completed, this collection will include

  • Approximately 25,000 small sound files of words and phrases from a wide variety of speakers (males and females) [13.2 GB]
  • A small dictionary of 1247 entries where 102 of those entries have two or more related senses. Each entry (with a few exceptions) has both an English and a Setswana gloss. There are 1062 Sasi example phrases to illustrate the lexical entries.
  • 20 hours of video [397GB]
  • 10 hours of video translated into English and Setswana
  • 5 hours of video phonetically transcribed
  • 3 hours of video fully glossed with English glosses in FLEx
  • 10 videos subtitled in Sasi and English
  • 10 vidoes subtitled in Sasi and Setswana


Deposit history

Chris Collins started documenting Sasi in 1996-1997 and the summer of 1998. He then returned to do further documentation work on Sasi (and other Khoisan languages) during 2011-2012 and 2015-2016, both times collaborating with Andy Chebanne. The deposit will include all the materials collected during those periods as well as transcribed video footage gathered during 2019-2020.


Acknowledgement and citation

Collins, Chris. 2020. Documenting Sasi. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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