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Documentation and Description of Siriono

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Language Siriono
Depositor Noé Gasparini
Affiliation Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage / Université Lumière Lyon 2
Location Bolivia
Collection ID 0165
Grant ID IGS0185
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection document Siriono (Tupi-Guarani family), an underdescribed and endangered language of lowlands Bolivia. In a small area, nearly a thousand Siriono live, with less a dozen fluent speakers of Siriono and around forty occasional speakers. The language is threatened by the use of the national language, Spanish, despite the fact Siriono is also an official language.

This data collection contains mainly raw video of Siriono speaking about daily life and past way of living. The collection includes an audiovisual documentation corpus with about 27 hours of videos and pedagogical material made with and for the community.

The main document is a Siriono-Spanish dictionary with about 1.600 entries. There is also three booklets with mammals, fishes and birds pictures and names, plus a banner with the seasonality of local fruits.

A grammatical description of the language, as a PhD dissertation is also included, written in French.


Group represented

The Siriono people lived in their own autonomous territory, acknowledged by the state of Bolivia. They have two villages and some farmers houses in a mosaic of savannas and wetlands. They used to be semi-nomads but they settled in Ibiato and around since the 1930s. The language in use in daily life is Spanish because of close contact with Trinidad, a city about one hour thirty minutes far in the west.


Language information

Siriono, or Sirionó, is a Tupi-Guarani language spoke by Siriono people in Bolivia. Around a thousand Sirionos live now in an autonomous territory around their main village, Ibiato. This territory is on Beni department, around seventy kilometres at the east of Trinidad, near the Trinidad-Santa Cruz road. The Sirionos prefer to name themselves Mbia (we, people) but they’re known in lowland Bolivia as chori (salvages) or Sirionos.


Collection contents

The majority of the bundles in this collection are video recordings in Siriono.

  • 15 hours of historical narratives
  • 10 hours of personal narratives
  • 1 hour of conversation
  • 1 hour of songs

There is also written material:

  • a Siriono-Spanish dictionary including a grammatical inventory and a bibliography about Siriono language (in Spanish)
  • a descriptive grammar of the language (in French)
  • a bilingual Siriono-Spanish booklet about mammals
  • a bilingual booklet about fishes
  • a bilingual booklet about birds
  • a bilingual banner with the seasonality of local fruits


Collection history

The data in this collection were collected between 2011 and 2015, during five trip into the Siriono community. Six hours of video have been transcribed and translated by Noé Gasparini and Victor Hugo Dicarer Mendez.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Noé Gasparini as the principal investigator, data collector and researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used should be acknowledged by name.

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Gasparini, Noé. 2018. Documentation and Description of Siriono. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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