The Repository and Workspace for Austroasiatic Intangible Heritage serves to:
- Consolidate both legacy and newly created materials and expertise into a unique, persistent and accessible multidisciplinary resource documenting the languages and cultures of Austroasiatic-speaking communities.
- Provide a digital workspace for contributors where they can store, curate and reuse their research collections.
- Facilitate the presentation of intangible heritage collections for fellow researchers, community members, and the general public by assisting depositors in the digitisation, cataloguing and presentation of their research collections.
- Bring together an international network of Austroasiatic scholars to generate new initiatives in the evolving field of eScience.
- Provide capacity building in MSEA to promote the documentation of intangible heritage, and sustainable archiving technology and data management.
RWAAI is managed in consultation with an external advisory panel. The members of the panel are:
- Kaj Århem (University of Gothenburg)
- Gérard Diffloth (Ecole-Francaise d’Extreme-Orient, Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- Nick Enfield (University of Sydney, MPI Nijmegen)
- Nick Evans (Australian National University)
- Paul Trilsbeek (MPI Nijmegen)
The acronym RWAAI is an adaptation of the proto-Austroasiatic form *rwaay. It is reconstructed in many branches of the family and means ‘soul’, or the conceptually related ‘tiger-spirit’ or ‘tiger’. For example, in the Aslian branch there is Temiar /rwaay/ ‘headsoul’, and Ceq Wong /lwɑy/ and Semaq Beri /rway/ both meaning ‘soul’. In the Khmuic branch there is Mlabri /rwaay/ ‘tiger’, and in the Palaungic language Lamet /rəwa̤a̤y/ also means ‘tiger’.