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Collaborative documentation of Piaroa, a language of the Venezuelan Amazon

Deposit page image for the collection 'Collaborative documentation of Piaroa, a language of the Venezuelan Amazon'.

Deposit page image for the collection ‘Collaborative documentation of Piaroa, a language of the Venezuelan Amazon’. Click on image to access collection.

 

Language Piaroa (ISO639-3:pid)
Depositor Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada
Affiliation University of British Columbia (2015-2017), University of Alberta
Location Venezuela
Deposit ID 0442, 0644
Grant ID SG0408, IPF0255
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2196/b68d7b6d-5d90-47ff-a82c-54172ea342f9

 

Summary of the deposit

This project focuses on the documentation of Piaroa, an indigenous language spoken in the Venezuelan Amazon, and serves to support ongoing community efforts towards preserving TEK and specialized speech genres. The project will result in a documentary corpus with audio and video recordings of culturally relevant communicative events and a collection of texts, both with potential to be mobilized in pedagogical materials creation. In addition to shedding light on aspects of the human language capacity, another important contribution of the project is the experience gained in working collaboratively with a native community on language documentation and preservation.

 

Group represented

Piaroa (ISO 639-3: pid), a Sáliban group also known as De’aruwa and/or Wotjüja; the collection represents primarily the community of Babel.

Piaroa is primarily spoken in Venezuela, with about 700 speakers in Colombia. The total Piaroa population reported in the 2011 Venezuelan census is 18,905 people (INE, 2014). Unfortunately, no speaker data from the 2011 census has been reported. The most recent available speaker data comes from the 2001 Venezuelan census in which the Piaroa number 14,494. Out of the population 3+ years of age (totaling 12,923 people) surveyed in the census, 12,217 self-identified as Piaroa speakers, 580 people reported speaking only Spanish and 126 people did not declare(Mattéi-Müller, 2006:290). What this data does not reveal is the degree of Spanish-Piaroa bilingualism among those who self-identified as Piaroa speakers. The 1992 Venezuelan census data, however, suggests that the degree of bilingualism is extremely high, especially among the young population (ages 15-29) where it reaches 70% (see Mosonyi,2003:144). While the language is considered as relatively stable by authors like Mosonyi (2003) and Mattéi-Müller(2006), it is clear that the presence of Spanish has indeed increased among the different Piaroa communities. The encroachment by Spanish has led to the loss of TEK among younger generations of Piaroa and to a break in the intergenerational transmission of certain speech genres (see Zent 2001, 2009).

 

Language information

Piaroa belongs to the Sáliban language family, which is believed to include Piaroa [pid] (more widely known as Wotjuja), Sáliba [slc], Mako [wpc], Ature (no longer extant), and possibly Jodï [yau]. However, little Sáliban comparative work or no reconstruction had been done until very recently (but see Rosés Labrada (forthcoming)) and the internal structure of the family remains unclear: while Piaroa and Mako can be grouped together based on shared vocabulary; investigation of innovative sound changes suggests that Piaroa and Sáliba should form a subgroup.

 

Special characteristics

Included in this collection are several recordings that were originally made by Laurence Krute in the community of Coromoto de Cuao with Luis Muñoz and/or members of his family in the years between 1976 and 1980 and that were digitized to be included in this project. These materials should be cited according to the special provisions outlined below under Acknowledgment.

This collection additionally includes recordings from Hortensia Estrada Ramírez collected with members of Sarrapia, a Piaroa community on the Colombian side of the border, between 2008 and 2009. These materials should be cited according to the special provisions outlined below in the Acknowledgement and Citation section.

 

Deposit history

The materials in this collection were collected between 2016 and 2017 with ELDP funding (Award No. SG0408).

This collaborative documentation project of Piaroa constitutes an application of the Community-Based Language Research (CBLR) model advocated by Czaykowska-Higgins (2009), and attempts to create a lasting and multi-purpose record of the language, in keeping with the documentary principles outlined in Himmelmann (2006). Central to this documentary approach is my belief that all linguistic research must be carried out not just on a language but, most importantly, for, with, and by the language community members. Therefore, the cornerstone of this documentation project will be collaborative data collection in which both the researcher and the consultants are equally invested and involved.The training of two community members in documentation techniques will ensure the sustainability of the community’s efforts long after the funding period has ended: the documentary corpus produced during the course of this project will be further enriched with new audio and video recordings, which can in turn help in the elaboration of new teaching materials for local schools.

 

Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada as the principal investigator. 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 as should the transcribers and translators. All information on contributors is available in the metadata of each file/bundle.

To cite the entire collection, please use the following format:

 

Rosés Labrada, Jorge Emilio. 2016-2017. Collaborative documentation of Piaroa, a language of the Venezuelan Amazon. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-000F-CB57-3. Accessed on [insert date here].

To cite the individual items within the collection, please use the following format:

Last Name, Name (speaker), Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada (researcher), Name Last Name (transcriber/translator). [year collected]. Title of resource (format, unique ID). Endangered Languages Archive. Archive Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-000F-CB57-3. Accessed on [insert date here].

To cite the individual items within the collection collected by Laurence Krute, please use the following format:

Last Name, Name (speaker), Laurence Krute (researcher), Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada (depositor, researcher), Name Last Name (transcriber/translator). [year collected]. Title of resource (format, unique ID). Endangered Languages Archive. Archive Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-000F-CB57-3. Accessed on [insert date here].

To cite the individual items that have Hortensia Estrada Ramírez as the primary researcher (i.e. all the recordings collected in Sarrapia, Colombia), please use the following format:

Last Name, Name (speaker), Hortensia Estrada Ramírez (researcher), Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada (depositor). [year collected]. Title of resource (format, unique ID). Endangered Languages Archive. Archive Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/2196/00-0000-0000-000F-CB57-3. Accessed on [insert date here].

 

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