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Grant number like: FN-266285-19

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Joshua Birchall
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
11/1/2019 – 7/31/2022

Documentation and dictionary of Oro Win (orw)

Video recordings and preparation of a multimedia dictionary and associated Android app for Oro Win, an indigenous Amazonian language with currently only six fully fluent speakers

Oro Win is a member of the Chapacuran language family spoken along the headwaters of the Pacaás Novos River in the Brazilian state of Rondônia in southwestern Amazonia. There are currently six elderly native speakers of the Oro Win language and another twelve community members that can be considered semi-speakers from an ethnic population of approximately 120 individuals. There are currently no published dictionaries of any Chapacuran language, and the need for this type of work to be carried out with the community is especially urgent. This project has three primary objectives: (1) to train indigenous researchers so that they have the knowledge and skills to document and study their own language; (2) to develop an extensive and multifaceted documentary corpus of the Oro Win language in close collaboration with native researchers through a participatory community-based model of language documentation; (3) to use this corpus to produce a multimedia dictionary for the indigenous and academic communities that includes examples for lexical entries from actual language use. All materials will be archived at the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, a Brazilian federal research institute, with a copy deposited at the Archive for Indigenous Languages of Latin America at the University of Texas (AILLA). This project will produce the first published dictionary of a Chapacuran language. Oro Win retains a number of conservative grammatical and phonological features not found in Wari, the last Chapacuran language still being learned by children as a first language. This project is an opportunity to document the natural speech and lexical knowledge of the last generation of Oro Win who learned the language as children and still use it in their daily lives. Increased documentation of the Oro Win language and culture can help expand our knowledge about the regional ethnolinguistic landscape. (Edited by staff)