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Preserving Benggoi: Dr. Williams and Team’s Pioneering Documentation Effort on Eastern Seram Island

Posted in: Homepage News and Events, Linguistics, Research

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Dr. Nicholas Williams received an award from Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) to support his research on Initial documentation of Benggoi of Eastern Seram Island. Along with two Indonesian linguists, Erniati Erniati and Dendi Wijaya, they will create initial documentation and description of Benggoi, a highly endangered language of Seram Island in Maluku, Indonesia. There are around 300-500 speakers, according to the researchers’ estimate. Benggoi is one of many highly endangered languages of Maluku.

Dr. Williams, in collaboration with the Indonesian colleagues, will create video recordings of language use, focusing on everyday talk and interaction, which they will transcribe and translate to create an initial corpus of the language. The research team will also record some other materials, depending on the needs and interests of the community members.

Dr. Williams hopes to create a preliminary dictionary and other materials for the community in the future. This is an initial project that aims to get better information on Benggoi, its grammar and endangerment status. Dr. Williams will travel to Seram in July-August 2024 and likely return in July 2025.