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Causality Across Languages: Cabécar (Chibchan)


Language Cabécar
Depositor Elisabeth Verhoeven, Nico Lehmann
Affiliation Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Location Costa Rica
Collection ID 0501
Grant ID
Funding Body National Science Foundation
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection contains audio and video recordings collected from 12 Cabécar speakers as part of the Causality Across Languages project.

CAL brings together an international team of researchers to investigate how speakers of different languages categorize causal chains for the purposes of describing them. It comprises four subprojects. The first of these is dedicated to the representation of causal relations in narrative discourses, with emphasis on universals and variation in underspecification and implicitness. The second subproject probes quantitatively and typologically the often hypothesized isomorphism between semantic and morphosyntactic complexity in verbal representations of causal chains. A third subproject investigates the universality of constraints on form-to-meaning mapping in descriptions of causal chains. The fourth and final subproject targets the cognitive representation of causality, searching for aspects of culture-specificity and possible linguistic reflexes.


Group represented

This collection represents speakers of the Cabécar language who belong to the indigenous Cabécar people of Costa Rica. All speakers were recorded at the University of Costa Rica in Turrialba, Costa Rica.


Collection contents

The collection contains sessions recorded as part of the CAL subproject (1) Causality in Discourse.

There are 12 sessions recorded as part of the Causality in Discourse subproject, each session representing one participant’s response to the discourse task. Sessions contain a compressed MP4 video recording and a recorded WAV file.


Collection history

The data for this collection was collected by Nico Lehmann in September 2017. All recordings were made at the University of Costa Rica, Turrialba, Costa Rica.


Other information

Cabécar belongs to the Chibchan language family spoken mainly in the Isthmo-Colombian Area. Cabécar is natively spoken by a little over 10,000 speakers and can be classified as a vulnerable language. The speakers are indigenous to Costa Rica, nowadays mostly situated in eight territories including Naírí, Awarí, Bajo Chirripó and Alto Chirripó, Tayní, Telire, Talamanca, Ujarrás and Chína Kicha. Though the Cabécar were the first of the indigenous groups in Costa Rica to create an alphabetic system, written communication still plays a very minor role. Due to the long contact with Spanish, many loanwords have made their way into the Cabécar language and alphabetization usually begins in Spanish.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Nico Lehmann as the data collector and Nico Lehmann and Elisabeth Verhoeven as the researchers. The material presented here is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS-153846 and BCS-1644657, ‘Causality Across Languages’; PI J. Bohnemeyer. Users should also acknowledge Juergen Bohnemeyer as the Primary Investigator of the Causality Across Languages project and the National Science Foundation for funding the research. Individual speakers do not need to be acknowledged when extracting linguistic examples from their speech.

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

Verhoeven, Elisabeth. 2018. Causality Across Languages: Cabécar (Chibchan). Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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