This guide to using the Endangered Languages and Cultures of Siberia sites is structured into the following sections:
- Types of content
- Exploring the site
- Audio and video playback controls
- Understanding transcripts
- Using the lists of lexical words, suffixes, and glosses
Types of content
The site provides a rich set of resources on the languages and cultures of Siberia.
- Language overviews
- Audio and video recordings with time-aligned transcripts
- Images from speech communities in Siberia
- Information on the people who contributed to the corpora
- Further language resources including lexicons and suffix lists linked to transcribed texts and language bibliographies.
Each overview page provides information on the location and speaker population of the language in question, as well as details of previous research in the field, and the sources of data used for the site.
All the resources available for each language can be accessed from these pages using the righthand navigation pane.
Language overviews can be accessed via the language summaries on the home page, or directly from the navigation menu.
Audio and video recordings
The audio and video recordings on the site were collected by a team of language specialists during fieldwork in Siberia. Each recording consists of a story, song or details a culturally significant practice or an aspect of the history of the indigenous peoples of Siberia.
For more help with understanding the audio and video recordings, see the sections on ‘Audio and video playback controls’ and ‘Understanding transcripts’ below.
The images on the site provide a visual record of the environment in which the indigenous people of Siberia live. Many of the images of the speech communities and culturally significant items were taken during fieldwork in Siberia. The image section also includes artwork depicting some of the imagery evoked in stories or inspired by the landscapes surrounding speaker communities.
The people who contributed the audio and video recordings that are available on the site are listed in the people section, together with some basic information, where available. By clicking on a person’s name, you be able to see which audio or video recordings they contributed, and which images they are in.
This section contains two different types of resource for each language:
- Lists of lexical words and suffixes exemplified in the audio and video recordings, together with their translations (into English, and sometimes Russian)
- A bibliography and/or a list of published texts
For more help with understanding how to use the lists of lexical words, suffixes and glosses to find examples in texts, see the section on ‘Using the lists of lexical words, suffixes, and glosses’ below.
Exploring the site
You can explore the resources on the Endangered Languages and Cultures of Siberia site in three different ways:
- Navigation menu
- Keyword search
- Search bar
The menu at the top left of the screen allows you to return to the home page, or navigate to language overviews. It also contains help links for general information about the site.
The search field at the top right of the screen allows you to search the whole site with your own search terms.
The search bar allows you to filter the set of resources by language and/or type. For instance, to see all the examples of videos on the site, ensure that ‘All languages’ is selected in the drop down menu, and that the VIDEO radio button is selected, and click ‘Show’. To see only images for Tundra Nenets, select ‘Tundra Nenets’ in the drop down menu, and select the IMAGES radio button. To see the results, click ‘Show’.
Audio and video playback controls
The audio or video playback controls consist of the following buttons:
- Information button
- Language button
- Play button
- Previous line, same line and next line buttons.
It also provides a field for searching individual transcripts themselves (rather than the whole site).
Clicking on the information button reveals a pane of information about the recording, including a synopsis of its content, the location and date of the recording, the names of the researchers/consultants who made and/or transcribed the recording, and the names of the speakers featured in the recording.
Clicking on the language button reveals a pane showing the tiers of the transcription that are currently being displayed in the transcription pane below.
For more help with understanding transcription tiers, see the section on ‘Understanding transcripts’ below.
Clicking on the play button starts playback of the recording. Playback can be paused by clicking on the same button a second time.
Previous line button
Clicking on the previous line button plays the section of the recording that immediately precedes the one that is currently selected.
Same line button
Clicking on the same line button replays the section of the recording that is currently selected.
Previous line button
Clicking on the next line button plays the section of the recording that immediately follows the one that is currently selected.
The transcript search field allows you search the transcript for search items in any of the transcript tiers. A results summary is provided beneath the playback controls. Results are also highlighted in yellow in the transcript. Note that you may need to scroll through the transcript to find the highlighted result.
Each audio or video recording is accompanied by a transcript consisting of:
- A transcription of the speech
- A morphological analysis of the internal structure of the speech
- An interlinear gloss (usually in English, but sometimes also in Russian)
- An free translation (usually in English, but sometimes also in Russian)
Hiding/showing selected parts of the transcript
By default, all tiers of the transcript are show together when playing an audio or video recording. You can chose which tiers to show by clicking on the ‘Languages’ button to the left of the ‘Play’ button on the playback controls for the recording.
To hide a tier, uncheck the checkbox that corresponds to tier you wish to hide. The transcription of the speech is represented by the name of the relevant language (e.g. Tundra Nenets), the morphological analysis is represented by the label ‘Morphemes’. Interlinear glosses have the label ‘Gloss’, and the free translation is represented by the name of the language the text has been translated into (i.e. English or Russian).
To show a hidden tier, simply check the corresponding checkbox box to bring it back into view.
Navigating through the transcript
As the video plays, a box highlighting the part of the transcript that corresponds to the current part of the recording appears. This automatically moves through the text as the recording continues.
At the left of the transcript pane are buttons that allow you to play short sections of the recording. These buttons also tell you how long into the recording the section is. Initials above the playback buttons indicate which speaker is currently speaking. This is particularly helpful when there are multiple participants contributing a recording.
To listen to a specific section, simply click on the button that corresponds to the section you wish to hear. Clicking on the button again will replay the section. To carry on playing the rest of the text, click the ‘Play’ button on the playback controls for the recording.
Using the lists of lexical words, suffixes, and glosses
For each language in the archive, there are a set of interactive indexes of lexical items, suffixes and
glosses that allow you to navigate directly to examples of their use in texts. The indexes fall into the following categories:
- Lexical words (in the relevant language)
- Suffixes (in the relevant language)
- Lexical glosses (in English/Russian)
- Suffix glosses (in English/Russian)
Thet can be accessed from the resources list for each language.
Format of the lists
Each index consists of an alphabetised list. It is possible to navigate quickly to items beginning with a specific letter using the alphabet at the top of the list.
Items beginning with characters that are not part of the English or Russian alphabets occur at the end of the list. All items in the list, including proper names appear in lower case.
Each item is followed by a number which gives an indication of how many times the lexical item or gloss appears in the texts for the language in question. Note that these numbers are indicative only and should not be reported as frequency counts. One reason for exercising caution here is that the same item may sometimes appear in both the gloss and the translation, and this will be counted as two instances, when really it should only be seen as one occurrence.
Clicking on the number following an item will take you to a result set for that item.
Understanding result sets
Once a lexical item, gloss or translation for either of these items has been selected, a results summary is returned.
The results summary indicates how many instances of the item are attested across the texts available for the language being searched.
It then provides a list of the different texts in which the item is found, with a number following the text name, indicating how many times it has been found in that text. Beneath the text name, the first example in the text containing the relevant item is shown, with the search term highlighted in yellow.
To view the examples in context, click on the number following the text title to be taken to that text.
The text you have selected will open, and a summary of the search results for the text are provided underneath the audio/video playback controls.
Scroll down through the text to find the examples you have searched for. Each result is highlighted in yellow and should be easy to find. Bear in mind that you may need to scroll right down to the end of the text to find the example.
Once you have looked at the examples in the text, use the ‘Back’ button in your browser to navigate to the full set of search results.