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ICT to preserve and access endangered Caucasian languages

05-01-2006 (Tblisi)
ICT to preserve and access endangered Caucasian languages
Audio and video recordings of endangered Ibero-Caucasian languages and dialects such as: Laz, Udi, Tsova-Tush (Batsbie), Abkhaz and Khevsur dialect of Georgian Language - are now available in a multimedia digital library thanks to the UNESCO sponsored project “Caucasian Languages Sound Library”.
The methodology of the project that is being implemented by the Tbilisi State University in Georgia is based on interviews with elderly speakers of each language. In these interviews, relevant aspects of the community life (such as stories on holidays and festivities, song and poems and folk material) have been recorded for further research work. All recordings have been deciphered by the members of the scientific team, translated and transcribed into Georgian. Georgian texts have been the source text and been translated into English to feed the project website.

The team project undertook field expeditions to different places in Georgia such as Khevsureti-Barisakho, Tsova-Tushia (upper Alvani), Kvareli region, Adjaria (Sarfi) and Abkhazia. In each place they met local citizens and collected oral testimony on different subjects of each local linguistic community.

The digital video and audio materials are being recorded on supports enabling the access and storage and preservation on proper conditions for further studies.

“The high performance digital audio and video quality gives us a unique opportunity to keep the endangered languages for our future generations alive and to preserve our cultural heritage so threatened by modern civilization and assimilation process in the region” says the technical coordinator of the team project, Tariel Sikharulidze from Tbilisi State University.
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