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Documentation and description of Kuna

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Language Kuna
Depositor Wikaliler Smith
Affiliation University of Texas at Austin
Location Panama
Deposit ID 0251
Grant ID IGS0085
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2196/bb23a8f2-a3d3-44d2-ba37-42b9745dd3de

 

Summary of the deposit

This collection is a response to the limited documentation and description available to the community members of Kuna. It seeks to document instances of naturally occurring speech in Kuna and to process new and old recordings, making them available to the community.

In addition to the new material produced, the collection will include a comprehensive grammar of the language, with an emphasis on community interests of strengthening and revitalization.

 

Group represented

Guna people from Panama and Colombia.

 

Language information

Guna (also written Kuna) is a Chibchan language spoken by approximately 50,000 people in Panama and Colombia. The focus of the project was to document the most widely known and spoken variety of the language, the one spoken in the northeastern part of Panama in a semi-autonomous territory known as Kuna Yala.

 

Special characteristics

This project looked to document instances of naturally occurring speech in Guna, a Chibchan language spoken mostly in the Panamanian-Colombian border area. The data obtained from this documentation effort was used to build a comprehensive grammar of the language, with an emphasis on community interests of strengthening and revitalization. The initial stage of the project focused on collecting already-recorded, but unpublished, texts. The second stage of the project focused on making new audio and video recordings of Guna speech. The purpose is to enrich and complement the existing collection of recordings by adding genres that are not represented currently in the language archives.

 

Deposit contents

This collection includes two different sets of recordings. The first are recordings made via cassette recorder in the late 1970s by Gunas who shared their personal cassettes with me. These are mostly chants, although there was also an interview of a speaker talking about his family history. The second are files in audio and video formats that were made during my fieldwork in 2010 and 2011. Fieldwork was possible thanks to ELAR to document everyday Guna spoken throughout different regions in the Guna territory known as Kuna Yala in Panama. Among these files there are interviews about village and family histories and cultural practices, anecdotal narratives, and procedural material.

 

Acknowledgement and citation

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

Smith, Wikaliler. 2015. Documentation and description of Kuna. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-000F-76DF-5. Accessed on [insert date here].

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