Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Integrating collaborative documentation and linguistic description in the Gran Chaco: the case of Northern Chaco Mocoví

Speaker Cristian Juárez
Affiliaton(s) Department of Linguistics and Cultural Evolution at the MPI-EVA
Workshop Lecture Series "Language: Documentation and Theory (ELAR / ZAS)"
Date 24.03.2023, 16:00
Time 16:00 o'clock
Venue Online

Language: Documentation and Theory

The Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW) together with the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) are delighted to continue with the lecture series. Our aim is to give a forum to linguistic work that advances or is based on the documentation of underdescribed languages, thus not only supporting linguistic research but also honoring the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032). For inquiries, please contact Mandana Seyfeddinipur (ELAR) director@eldp.net or Manfred Krifka (ZAS), krifka@leibniz-zas.de.

Meeting ID: 636 0615 0838

There is a password, the same as with previous talks. If you are interested, you can get it here: mailto:training@eldp.net.


The South American Gran Chaco region is home to more than twenty languages grouped in seven linguistic families in addition to a few isolate languages (Censabella, 2009). Fortunately, in recent years many individual research projects have made important progress at documenting and describing some of these languages. In this presentation I will discuss the process of documentation and description of Northern Chaco Mocoví (Guaycuruan) as
spoken in Colonia Aborigen, a multilingual rural region of northeastern Argentina (Hermitte et al., 1995).

After describing relevant sociolinguistic aspects of the Mocoví community in Colonia Aborigen, the talk will focus on the steps implemented to design and carry out a community-based collaborative documentation applied to Mocoví (e.g., Chelliah, 2018; Sapién, 2018), which turns into a multimodal open-access collection at ELAR (Juárez, 2019). I will also discuss the advantages and challenges of this type of research and how we resolved challenges we faced in the course of this project. I will further present the main outcomes of this project, focusing on the creation of language material and efforts made to promote Mocoví. Particularly, the extent to which this type of material positively enhanced language awareness within and beyond the language community will be presented.
The second part of the talk will illustrate how such a collaborative language documentation served as the main data source for the study of verb valence and the transitivity profile of Northern Chaco Mocoví, which provided new data for further comparison across Mocoví variants and Guaycuruan languages.