Sentani Recordings

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The collection of recordings made with a (semi-)speaker of Sentani living in Leiden, the Netherlands, that served as the basis for a ResMA thesis at Leiden University by Clemens J. Mayer. It contains word elicitation, texts, and discussions on grammar and semantics.

The Sentani language is a group of three dialects (western, central, and eastern Sentani) spoken on and around Sentani Lake in northern New Guinea. Little documentation has been done on the language, especially the western and central dialects. A grammar of Sentani was published in 1963 by Hendrik Cowan based on data collected in Ajapo (now Ayapo), and a number of smaller papers were published throughout the second half of the twentieth century. This collection features the first documentation of any of the dialects of the language since the early 1980s.

The speaker, who is Ondofolo (chief) of Asei island, learned the eastern dialect of Sentani as his first language, and additionally learned Indonesian from a young age. He has been living in the Netherlands since 1962, and has not returned to Sentani since. This, in combination with the fact that he communicates with family and friends who are on New Guinea solely in Indonesian, has led to quite severe language attrition. The speaker has also stated that he believes that there are no longer any native speakers of eastern Sentani on Asei and perhaps elsewhere as well. While this is difficult to estimate without being able to survey the area, there have been anecdotal reports of at least some Sentani still being spoken, which is believed to be both or either the central and western dialects (David Gil, pers. comm.;George Saad, pers. comm.).

However, since it is the speaker's native language, he was still able to produce some Sentani, and especially judge and translate previously recorded Sentani data.

Because of the above reasons, the collection is two-fold: One part consists of word and grammar elicitation and discussions on meanings/semantics, and the other of the reading of two previously documented Sentani texts. The texts were subsequently corrected for dialectal differences and mistakes in the original text, and translated.

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  • Item
    CJM1-010
    ( 2021-02-17) Mayer, Clemens J. ; Mayer, Clemens J. ; Kaigere, Gershon
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    CJM1-009
    ( 2020-12-09) Mayer, Clemens J. ; Mayer, Clemens J. ; Kaigere, Gershon
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    CJM1-008
    ( 2020-11-18) Mayer, Clemens J. ; Mayer, Clemens J. ; Kaigere, Gershon
  • Item
    CJM1-007
    ( 2020-11-11) Mayer, Clemens J. ; Mayer, Clemens J. ; Kaigere, Gershon
  • Item
    CJM1-006
    ( 2020-10-31) Mayer, Clemens J. ; Mayer, Clemens J. ; Kaigere, Gershon