Historical Introduction

The following file was first made avaialble via Gopher and then WWW in 1994. I belive that these were the first sound recodings of a non-European language available on the internet. To preserve the feel I have not updated the following (eg by putting it into Unicode). I have updated my email address and the links.
David Zeitlyn
Oxford October 2010

Instructions for reading the digitised transcript.

The accompanying file is an electronic version of from the transcript included (pp 213-215) in the paper that appeared in the anthropology journal Man 1993. This version, however, includes digitised sound recordings of the talk transcribed in the text. The purpose of doing this is to make more of my data available. I trust that this will be of interest to linguists as well as to anthropologists and others. In order to protect the copyright of the RAI (the journal publishers) I am only making the actual transcript available in this package. The full reference to the article is: Zeitlyn, David 1993. "Reconstructing kinship or the pragmatics of kin talk". Man 28(2), 199-224.

I hope this is of interest and useful.

I would be very grateful for any feedback, including reports or success or failure at reading/listening to this document.

For more information on the Mambila see VIMS - the Virtual Institute of Mambila Studies.

The world Wide Web format document now follows.

Since this is an experitment in the use of WWW I have avoided the use of true phonetic charactors by taking sections of the original transcript and capturing them as graphics. Each line, or set of lines thus will appear as an uneditable graphic. Associated with each graphic is a sound recording of the text transcribed therein.


'[' marks the beginning of simultaneous speech, ']' its end (when not the end of a line).


=' are utterances with no gap between them.

'()' is a small but appreciable pause. Ô(.)' is a longer pause. The approximate time (in seconds) of longer pauses is put in the brackets.

'xxxx' are utterances that could not be transcribed (often due to simultaneous speech).

Tone marks:

high: « ,

mid-high: unmarked,

mid-low: , low: ` .

Tone shifts or glides are marked by a combination of appropriately marked vowels since vowel length is not distinctive. The ^ is used on a single vowel to mark a high-low glide.

Line numbers are as they appear in Zeitlyn 1991.

Notes on the speakers:

Mb is a senior man from the hamlet of the youths accused of committing adultery.

Ny is an elder 'brother' of the Chief, strictly he is the Chief's FBds.

Gw is the father-in-law of the woman accused of committing adultery.

Digitised recording and text:

A recording of the complete text that follows can be listened to

Listen to the entire transcript.

Digitised recordings of individual lines or groups of lines have been inserted after the line numbers.

Line 6 line6.gif

Listen to Line 6

Line7-9 line7-9.gif

Listen to Line7-9

line10 line10.gif

Listen to line10

line11-15 line11-15.gif

Listen to lines 11-15

line16-17 line16-17.gif

Listen to lines 16-17

line18 line18.gif

Listen to line18

line19 line19.gif

Listen to line19

line20 line20.gif

Listen to line20

line21 line21.gif

Listen to line21

EMail David Zeitlyn

Original 1993. Revised post-gopher(!) August 2004. Revised for new Oxford incarnation October 2012