Basic Oral Language Documentation

This project is recording and transcribing indigenous languages of Papua New Guinea, using voice recorders donated by Olympus.  Papua New Guinea is home to over 800 languages, many with few remaining speakers, and many with minimal linguistic documentation.  The work is being done by university staff and students who speak the local languages.

We are collecting narratives, dialogues and songs for 100 languages, using the technique of "Basic Oral Language Documentation" (BOLD).  Materials will be freely available for non-commercial use.  The project was originally scheduled to run for one year, from 21 February 2010 (UNESCO International Mother Language Day), but was extended by a further year.  Activities are continuing in 2012.

In collaboration with staff at the following institutions:

With sponsorship from:

The Firebird


  • International Workshop on Language Preservation The University of Goroka will host a two-week workshop on language preservation, starting on 21 May.  The workshop will provide hands-on training in digital technologies for language documentation ...
    Posted May 14, 2012, 12:45 AM by Steven Bird
  • Implementing BOLD in Goroka Recently, Anne-Marie Wanamp and Steven Bird delivered a joint presentation concerning ongoing efforts at the University of Goroka to incorporate oral language documentation into their undergraduate curriculum.  The presentation ...
    Posted Aug 29, 2011, 4:25 AM by Steven Bird
  • Promoting Oral Language Documentation in Canada The BOLD:PNG project will be presented at the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute, at the University of Alberta, on July 13 (abstract).  CILLDI is an annual training ...
    Posted Jul 11, 2011, 10:34 AM by Steven Bird
  • Data Collection In June, Steven Bird visited the three participating universities to copy the audio recordings and to digitize the logbooks.  All materials have been deposited in the archive of the Institute ...
    Posted Jun 14, 2011, 1:20 AM by Steven Bird
  • Presentation at ICLDC, Hawaii The BOLD:PNG Project was presented at the Second International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, at the University of Hawai`i, in February 2011.  The presentation was entitled "Equipping ...
    Posted Apr 27, 2011, 6:20 PM by Steven Bird
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