A journalist’s recent visit with primary school teacher and Tujia scholar Chu Yongming (储永明在课间与孩子们进行土家与对话) highlights a man with a mission—to ensure that the next generation of Tujia have the tools they need to speak the language of their people.
Working out of a primary school in Hubei’s Feng county, the 59-year-old has taken part in compiling two published works for language instruction (<土家语“原生态”土家语言校本教材> and <土家语言>), and is in the middle of editing a Dictionary of the Tujia Language (土家语辞典).
A few factoids re: the present state of the Tujia language cited in the article:
- 7.38m: Number of Tujia people in the PRC
- 50,000: Number of Tujia who can actually speak the language
- Distribution: Tujia are concentrated in Hubei, Guizhou, Chongqing and Sichuan
For a 2012 update on Chu Yongming’s activities, see 大山深处的土家语传承与坚守 .