Remo

Remo [bfw] or remsam is the language of the Bonda people of Malkangiri district, Orissa. Although a highly celebrated tribal people for their unique cultural practices, Remo has remained a poorly investigated language. It is an endangered language with approximately 6,500 speakers remaining.

Left to Right: Budra Raspeda (Gta’ consultant), Sonia Danghada-Majhi (Remo consultant), Sudarsan Majhi (Remo consultant), Greg Anderson, Opino Gomango in Bhubaneswar 2010.
Photo by Mundari scholar Bikram Jora.

Two dialects are traditionally reckoned although data remains inconclusive as to the exact nature and make-up of the variation seen in the Remo-speaking communities. The Living Tongues Institute’s Remo Talking Dictionary and Online Grammar Project began in 2005 with Sukra Danghada-Majhi serving as primary consultant. Short trips were carried out in 2007 and numerous ones throughout late 2010 and early 2011. A small portion of this work is offered here as a sample.

In 2010, Living Tongues was awarded a small one-year grant (BCS 0853877) from the National Science Foundation under the auspices of its Documenting Endangered Languages program to continue our work on the Remo Talking Dictionary and Online Grammar project. Several field trips have been undertaken in the fall of 2010 and winter of 2011 to make recordings for this work. Working closely together with Dr. Anderson and Dr. Harrison has been the local coordinator of this work, Opino Gomango. Mundari scholar Bikram Jora also has taken part in this work. The Primary consultant has been Sania Danghada-Majhi, other consultants include Sudarsan Majhi, and Sukari Danghada-Majhi.

Phase one of the project is what was focused on giving the reduced time frame and amount of the award. This was to collect a large amount of lexical items and to produce the first version of a searchable on-line Remo Talking Dictionary (currently password-protected, but available among the Talking Dictionaries of India). This will be expanded in the second phase when adequate funding can be secured. 
In addition to expanding the lexical content and Remo Talking Dictionary, phase two will also expand the collection of grammatical samples and annotated texts that we have collected; a tiny sample of this is offered here.

Ultimately, we hope to have a full sketch grammar and decent lexicon with a small collected of analyzed texts to produce a usable and searchable on-line reference grammar. Further funding is required for the Online Documentation of Remo (Bonda) to be realized in its fullest potential.

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