||This collection comprises a wide range of audio and video materials documenting the linguistic, communicative and cultural practices of the Phola people. The majority of these materials were recorded by Manuel David González Pérez between 2018 and 2020 in Luodie village in Yuanjiang County of Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China as part of his PhD in Linguistics at the Australian National University. Exceptions include some video recordings created by local community members themselves within the framework of the above-mentioned PhD project.
The Phola language was first brought to the attention of the international scholarly audience by Jamin Pelkey, who completed a PhD thesis (2008) on the sociolinguistic distribution of little known language varieties of Southern Yunnan Province. It was assigned the ISO-639-3 code [ypg] which is adopted in this collection as well.
However, all the data included in this collection comes exclusively from a single Phola speaking village and great care should be exercised in making assumptions about linguistic or cultural sameness. Preliminary in-situ observations by the compiler suggest that different Phola villages exhibit sometimes significant differences in their phonologies, and to a lesser extent their vocabularies and even grammatical patterns. Nonetheless, mutual intelligibility appears to be warranted for all Phola villages currently known to both the compiler and Luodie villagers themselves.
For an introduction to the Phola language and its speakers, the visitor is referred to González Pérez 2022's PhD thesis, which is titled "Grammar, dimension and deixis in Phola: A Tibeto-Burman language of China.". Chapter in particular should be of interest to most visitors as it surveys various aspects of Phola culture, both material and symbolic. This is followed by a sketch grammar, which should be of interest to descriptive and typologically minded linguists alike. The thesis also includes conceptually orientated chapters on the semantics and pragmatics of words encoding dimensional and spatial contrasts, which should be of interest to linguists, anthropologists and other social scientists.
For those visiting the collection for the first time, the most valuable entry point is probably YPG1-20100131_05, which is an audio recording of a traditional story of cultural significance to Luodie Pholas. This is the story of "the fallen men cliff" which narrates the heroic defence of Luodie village by a mythical character who is said to have single-handedly warded off an incursion of bandits. An Elan file including a full transcription in International Phonetic Alphabet and a preliminary working romanisation is provided as well as translations into Mandarin Chinese, English and five other languages (French, German, Hindi, Russian and Spanish).
Those with an interest in ethnomusicological and ethnochoreographic issues are advised to consult YPG1-20181218_06 through to YPG1-20181218_09, YPG1-20191215_02 and YPG1-20191229_04.
The file naming is undergirded by the following conventions:
First the collection name is given as YPG1 as this is the first major project of documentation targeting the Phola speech community.
Then a date is provided in the format YYYYMMDD followed by the number of the recording event in chronological order. For example, the first recording goes back to the sixth of December of 2018. Given that four recording events were carried out on that day, there are four items corresponding to that date:
The naming system includes information on the microphones and recording device involved. This is sometimes followed by lowercase letters indicating separate files created within the same recording event. Thus, for example, on the 20th of November of 2019, many files were created during an excursion to Hatu Cave, a site of cultural significance for the Pholas. Finally, the file extension indicates the file type (e.g., whether it is an audio file or a video file)
The following file name is explicated as a practical illustration:
Audio recording belonging to the first collection of Phola materials corresponding to the second recording event of the 20th of November of 2019. This audio recording was the first file to be created by the H2n hand-held audio recorder.
The full list of abbreviations is as follows:
ext = external microphone
ext1 = external microphone number 1
ext2 = external microphone number 2
int = internal microphone
H5 = Zoom audiorecorder H5
H2n = Hand-held Zoom audioecorder H2n
Q8 = Zoom audio and video recorder Q8
XA20 = Canon audio and video recorder XA20
MIUI = Xiaomi mobile phone audio and video recorder
A small number of audio files stemming from WeChat audio messages have also been included. These are indicated as such by using 'wechat' instead of a recorder code.