Dictionary published on oral language of China's Oroqen

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A dictionary on the oral language of the Oroqen ethnic group has been published in China as part of efforts to preserve the endangered language, it was announced Thursday.

Pronunciations of common expressions of the language are annotated by the international phonetics alphabet followed by explanatory notes in the dictionary, which is published by the Beijing-based Ethnic Publishing House.

"The compilation of the dictionary is a new attempt to preserve endangered ethnic languages," Alihui, chief compiler of the dictionary, told a press conference held Thursday in Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

An online learning app of the Oroqen language has also been developed by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, marking the preservation of endangered ethnic languages entering a systematic and digital era.

As one of the smallest ethnic groups in China, the Oroqen ethnic group has a population of less than 10,000 who mainly live in the northeastern part of the country. Known for their hunting culture, the Oroqen people have passed down their language and cultures orally, as they have no written language.

To protect the language from extinction, authorities in the city of Hulun Buir, a major habitation of Oroqen people in Inner Mongolia, started organizing the compilation of the dictionary in 2017.

The pronunciation dictionaries of Ewenki and Daur, two other small ethnic groups with no written languages, will also be published. 

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