a global community
The Sylheti Project was founded by Dr Candide Simard (Linguistics department, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London) after an invitation from the director of the Surma Community Centre, Camden, during Endangered Languages Week in 2012. Since then, SOAS linguistics students have participated in this extracurricular project to document, describe, and raise awareness of the *Sylheti language as it is spoken by users of the Surma Centre. Students in the Fieldmethods course have worked with Sylheti speakers to document and describe Sylheti grammar. Alongside other sub-projects, the Sylheti Project has compiled a dictionary for an app, produced a storybook, and held an academic conference.
*Sylheti is an Indo-Aryan language with non-Indic, like Tibeto-Burman, influences, on the Bengali-Assamese language continuum. It is spoken by a minority in north-east Bangladesh and south Assam, India, where it is often considered to be a 'dialect' of Bengali. However, it is a language, with over 10 million speakers worldwide and an estimated 400 000 speakers in the UK.