The major aim of this project is to collect a broad variety of spoken texts in order to document the language in various cultural contexts by doing audio- and video-recordings: story-telling, songs, traditional food preparation, plant medicine, fishing techniques, material culture and artifacts (fabrication of tapa and dancing costumes), traditional practices (feasts, life cycle) and the use of trick languages. We hope to collect as many different modes of speaking as possible such as instructive, discursive, narrative text genres etc. which will give a good basis for future linguistic research. Moreover, the audio- and video-recordings will document the different contexts and situations in which the language is used in the Marquesan speech community. The creation of audio- and video-recordings will therefore also provide a valuable source for other scientific disciplines such as anthropology, oral literature, history and sociology. In French Poynesia it will also be of great interest to local scientists and the general public documenting a part of their cultural and linguistic heritage.
The archive will consist of different kinds of data including audio- and video-recordings, photos, drawings and some written texts (e.g. journals by native speakers). The linguistic data will be annotated in different formats: free translations of transcriptions into French and English, glossed texts (interlinear morpheme translation) with translations, a trilingual dictionary (Marquesan-French-English), specialised (trilingual) gloassaries (e.g. ‘food/food preparation’), field notes (explanation of culture-specific concepts and words), a sketch grammar and a description of the sound system.
The audio- and video-recordings and their annotations will in particular help the speech community to develop pedagogical material. This will be of great interest to school teachers and the Académie marquisienne who have already initiated workshops to develop pedagogical material for schools. As they have very little material so far, the linguistic documents will contribute to develop pedagogical material and they will also advance the work of the newly created Marquesan language Academy (Académie marquisienne).
Furthermore, it is planned that the digitised recordings (e.g. narratives, food preparation) are put on CDs which are then made available to the speech community (e.g. in the community center or a local library). This will hopefully promote the interest in their indigenous language and culture, in particular among the younger generation.
Finally, a specific aim of this project is to involve as many Marquesan people as possible in the hope that the working experience of local people will help the speech community to continue the language work after the project.
Within the DoBeS program the project cooperates with the Teop project documenting another endangered language of Oceania in Bougainville. A number of contents of the documentation (e.g. food preparation) overlap with our project and therefore can be useful for comparative studies of Oceanic cultures.