Project Description & Team

Manang Languages Team (2014)

Photo Taken:  June 2014 near Ghyaaru, upper Manang by Shunfu Hu

Back Row L-R:  Dr. Shunfu Hu, Dr. Kristine Hildebrandt, Dr. Oliver Bond; Front Row L-R: Mr. Dil Bahadur Gurung, Mr. Ritar Lhakpa Lama, Mr. Kali Lama, Dr. Jessica Krim (SIUE); Not pictured: Dr. Dubi Nanda Dhakal, Mr. Prem Ghale


Manang Languages Team (2013)

Photo Taken:  June 2013 in Dhukur Pokhari, upper Manang by Shunfu Hu

From left to right:  Mr. Ritar Lhakpa Lama, Ms. Kanchan Karki, Ms. Yesha Malla, Dr. Oliver Bond, Dr. Kristine Hildebrandt, Dr. Dubi Nanda Dhakal, Mr. Sukumar Gurung, Mr. Krishna Tamang, Mr. Kancha Gurung, Mr. Kali Lama, Dr. Shunfu Hu


Manang Languages Team (2012)

Photo Taken:  July 2012 in Nace village, lower Manang by Shunfu Hu

From left to right:  Back row: Dr. Oliver Bond, University of Surrey, United Kingdom; Dr. Dubi Nanda Dhakal, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Dr. Kristine Hildebrandt, SIUE, USA; Dr. Shunfu Hu SIUE; Ms. Prita Malla, graduate assistant, SIUE; Front row: Mr. Prabal Malla; Mr. Ritar, Lhakpa Lama, Nar village and Kathmandu; Mr. Kali Lama, Baggarchhap village and Kathmandu


  • Derek Engel (Fall 2012)
  • Cassidy Martin* (Fall 2012)
  • Matthew Vallejo* (Fall 2012-Spring 2013)
  • Samantha Jo Winkler* (web design, Fall 2012-Spring 2013)
  • Alex Kalika* (Spring 2013)
  • John Rekowski* (Spring 2013)
  • Kourtney Hake* (Spring 2013)
  • Yesha Malla (Summer 2013, summer internship funded by the
  • Ariel program, St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM)
  • Alex Taitt* (Fall 2013-Spring 2014)
  • Cassidy Jacobson* (Fall 2013-Spring 2014)
  • Andrea Fyffe* (Fall 2013-Spring 2014)
  • Tiffany Downing* (Fall 2013- Spring 2015)
  • Ian Green* (Fall 2014- Spring 2015)
  • Christopher Witruk* (Fall 2014- Spring 2015)
  • Alex Jackson* (Fall 2015)
  • Ada Lewis* (Fall 2015)
  • Similoluwa Ogunnaike* (Fall 2015)
  • Morgan Rogers* (Fall 2015)
  • Allison Rue* (Fall 2015)
  • Sarah Song* (Fall 2015)
  • Mehali Patel (Spring 2015-Fall 2016)
  • Amber Khan (Spring 2017)
  • Manisha Chaudhari (Fall 2016-Spring 2017)
  • Kristin Kaskski (Summer-Fall 2017)
  • Ishu Jha (Fall 2017)
  • Pratik Lamsal (Fall 2017)
  • Manisha Chaudhari (Fall 2016-Spring 2017)
  • Ishu Jha (Fall 2017 & Spring 2018)
  • Pratik Lamsal (Fall 2017 & Spring, Summer 2018)
  • Chance Goodwin (Spring 2018)
  • Jami Howell (Spring 2018)
  • *student names with asterisks are funded by or affiliated with SIUE's URCA program
  • Manang Youth Society
  • Pal Tashi Samdrupling (Nar-Phu Welfare Society, chairman Mr. Ritar Lhakpa Lama)

In an increasingly globalized world, indigenous minority languages, such as the tribal languages of Nepal’s Manang District, are threatened by migration, the loss of younger speaker populations, and the influence of dominant majority cultures. This CAREER project (NSF1149639) undertakes a unique response to language endangerment by exploring innovative methods of language documentation that also involve and benefit diverse populations. The project encompasses collaborative, multi-institutional field investigations of the four tribal languages Nyeshangte, Gyalsumdo, Manang-Gurung and Nar-Phu in order to merge traditional documentation methods with cutting-edge visualization tools. Investigators will adapt approaches from other studies of language and dialect variation by building a web-accessible, multi-media atlas to chart the rich language histories, variation, and attitudes found in Manang. This output will represent a new approach to documentation, one with a geographic perspective to chart structural details, threats, survival scenarios and future prospects within and across these languages. The project will also provide essential learning tools about, and for, language endangerment and survival scenarios in Nepal. One focus group will be undergraduate university students, who represent influential global citizens who would otherwise encounter issues of endangerment and preservation only in a detached context of textbooks and lecture. Project methods will embrace a collaborative spirit, including work with Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, and with trained assistants in the Manang District. The project will also involve work with colleagues and students in the Geographic Information Systems program at the home institution. University students are involved in all phases of data collection and analysis, and in the design of pedagogical materials. Additionally, the project will collaborate with archivists at the University of Virginia on long-term data preservation and visualization protocols. The goals, methods, and resources garnered from this project will provide an exciting and groundbreaking standard for future documentation, archival, educational, and language awareness endeavors.

Resources/Further Elaboration