Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

Trilingual education in Bolivia

1 May 2013

With the start of the school year in February, schools are teaching indigenous languages for the first time in Bolivia. This is required by the 2010 Avelino Siñani-Elizardo Pérez Law (Spanish), which covers the “traditional knowledge” of students’ communities.

Students will be taught Spanish, plus a foreign language (English, French or Portuguese) and a local language.

See “Bolivia: Indigenous languages taught in school” for more.

App for collecting oral literature

24 April 2013

If you have enough of a source language and accompanying translation, you can piece back together vital parts of a language if a time comes when it is no longer spoken. Collecting that data can be hard work, however.

To address the difficulties of collecting oral language, Language Preservation 2.0 (lp20) has created Aikuma, a free app for Android smartphones that linguists and community members themselves can use to record language with a function to stop along the way and provide a translation.

Read more about the app, and about Tembé/Tenetehára (tqb) and Usarufa (usa), in the article “Recording the world’s vanishing voices.”

English teacher writes a Jaqaru dictionary

14 May 2012

The On Location series by news company GlobalPost won a Peabody award in 2011.

Posted on 10 May, Alexander Houghton’s video “On Location: Peruvian Indigenous Group Fights to Save Their Dying Language”  highlights the situation of Jaqaru (jqr), a language spoken in Tupe and Catahuasi, Peru, not far from Lima.

With many Jaqaru moving to Lima and the recent arrival of television and mobile telephony, the language is quickly losing to Spanish. One of the people featured (her name is mentioned rapidly in the video) is a native speaker of Jaqaru who has written the only dictionary of her language, but even her own son speaks Spanish. Today, there are about 700 speakers of Jaqaru.

According to “M.J. Hardman — Noticias,” the Jaqaru alphabet was developed by MJ Hardman and Dimas Bautista Iturrizaga by 1961, and according to the video, it was officially accepted last year.

Mashco-Piro linguistically isolated

1 February 2012

For unknown reasons, the Mascho-Piro of Peru killed  Nicolas “Shaco” Flores, the only person capable of communicating with the isolated group. That is according to “Isolated Peru tribe makes uncomfortable contact.”

The Ethnologue has a 1976 citation saying for Mascho-Piro (cuj), saying there are between 20 and 100 people. The “Isolated” article says it is believed there are hundreds in the group.

According to Survival International, there are about 100 uncontacted peoples in the world today, including 15 in Peru.