Languages of the People of the Center

Peoples of the Center DOBESPeople of the Center

Since 2004 the DoBeS (Dokumentation Bedrohter Sprachen) program supports the project “Documenting the languages of the People of the Center”, which was housed from 2004-2007 at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and from 2007-2009 at the Universität Regensburg. The partner organization in Peru is the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana (IIAP). The project focuses on the languages Bora, Huitoto, Nonuya, Ocaina, and Resígaro, documenting the use of each of these languages in different contexts, ranging from memorized ritual discourses to traditional festivals, hunting and fishing trips, to sport events and everyday conversation. The aim of this documentation is to provide a lasting record of the cultural and linguistic practices of People of the Center as they can be observed at the beginning of the 21st century. In order to ensure that members of the People of the Center themselves can access and make use of this documentation, all translations, descriptions, and metadata are written in Spanish. Copies of the entire documentation are stored in two physical locations, the central DOBES archive in Nijmegen and the regional archive in Iquitos.

Languages of the People of the Center

The People of the Center are a multilingual group living in the North West Amazon, in the border region between Southern Colombia and Northern Peru. This archive contains about 2,000 audio and video recordings as well as additional linguistic and ethnographic descriptions, of Murui (Witotoan), Ocaina (Witotoan), Nonuya (Witotoan), Bora-Miraña (Boran), and Resígaro (Arwak).

This project provides documentations of five language of the People of the Center (see http://corpus1.mpi.nl/qfs1/media-archive/dobes_data/Center/Info/2.1_Introduccion_Lenguas.pdf):

Bora (Boran branch of hypothesized Witotoan family): Comprehensive documentation
Ocaina (Witoto branch of hypothesized Witotoan family): Comprehensive documentation
Witoto proper (Witoto branch of hypothesized Witotoan family): Extensive documentation and processing and incorporation of old data
Resígaro (Arawak): Salvage documentation with remaining three speakers
Nonuya (Witoto branch of hypothesized Witotoan family): Processing and incorporation of data from an extinct language.

See also the Welcome page of this project (http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser?openpath=MPI1144418%23)

Research team

Frank Seifart coordinated this project. The sub-corpora on individual languages have been compiled under the responsibility of the project members specializing on these languages. These are: Bora: Frank Seifart and Jürg Gasché (ritual discourse and festivals); Witoto (Huitoto): Jürg Gasché; Nonuya: Juan Alvaro Echeverri; Ocaina: Doris Fagua; Resígaro: Frank Seifart.

Many speakers of the languages of the People of the Center  supported this project in many  ways, including also transcription and translation. Their contributions are specified in the metadata for each session.