Documenting the Sherbro language and culture of Sierra Leone

Documenting the Sherbro language and culture of Sierra Leone

Language: Sherbro (ISO639-3:bun)
Depositor: Tucker Childs, Jedd Schrock
Location: Sierra Leone
Deposit Id: 0373
Grant id: MDP0316
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
The Sherbro language, spoken on Sherbro Island and nearby coastal areas of Sierra Leone, is in rapid decline. Its speakers now number some 20,000 with its domains and functions decreasing. Sherbro speakers increasingly prefer the more widely spoken languages Mende, Krio, and Temne. In a few places, however, the language is used in daily interactions. One is within the Dema Chiefdom on the westernmost edge of the island. It is here the project will locate itself to fully document the language in grounded contexts and partner with the local community and university to produce materials valuable to these and scholarly communities.

Group represented

Speakers of Bullom languages (Bullom is the group to which Sherbro, Mani,Bom, Kim, and Kisi belong) once lived in the interior but were gradually pushed to the Atlantic coast by various Mande groups (Brooks 1993, Childs 2011), where they became fishermen.

Special characteristics

Sherbro has some typological interest not only because of its status as a member of the Bullom sub-group of South Atlantic, but also because of its dislocation as a result of the Mande Expansion(Childs 2002) and the subsequent intense interaction with European traders in slaves and other commodities. Undoubtedly this contact affected the language (Childs 2002).

Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite the corpus in this way:

Childs, Tucker and Schrock, Jedd, 2016. Documenting the Sherbro language and culture of Sierra Leone. London, SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: Accessed on [insert date here].


Collection online
Resources online and curated


Tucker Childs
Affiliation: Portland State University
Jedd Schrock
Affiliation: Portland State University

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 March 20 to 2019 March 20
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
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Showing 1 - 10 of 186 Items

Interview with Agnes Simbo

Recorded on: 2016-01-15

Abdulai was interviewed about his background and growing up - the first interview of the project

Recorded on: 2016-01-15

Abu Bakar Bendu voiceover

Recorded on: 2017-06-01

Abu Conteh and others planting rice

Recorded on: 2016-06-13

Abubacarr Bendu cutting Palm heads

Recorded on: 2016-04-26

Adama Mampa on Bondo

Recorded on: 2016-02-03

Adama Mampa giving a greeting

Recorded on: 2016-02-03

Adama Mampa interviewed by Mabel Lohr

Recorded on: 2016-01-30

Adama Mampa describing cooking

Recorded on: 2016-02-03

Recorded on: 2016-02-03