Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Documentation of Ecuadorian Secoya

The endangered West Toucanic language Secoya with a maximum of 1200 speakers today is native to the northern Amazon regions of Ecuador and Peru. In Ecuador, Secoya is spoken by less than 500 people and has strong regional influences from the related language Siona.
In the new project, funded by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Programme from September for 1.5 years, Dr. Anne Schwarz will document the Ecuadorian Secoya together with indigenous researchers. The aim is to create and archive a text corpus and an electronic dictionary based on audio/video recordings, accompanied by documentary linguistic training for the local team and the joint development of language didactic materials for the speaker community.


  • Chiarcos, Christian, Ines Fiedler, Mira Grubic, Andreas Haida, Katharina Hartmann, Julia Ritz, Anne Schwarz, Amir Zeldes & Malte Zimmermann. 2009. Information structure in African languages: corpora and tools. Proceedings of EACL 2009 Workshop on Language Technologies for African Languages, March 31, 2009, Athens (Greece) . 17-24.
  • Fiedler, Ines & Anne Schwarz. 2010. Introduction. In Ines Fiedler & Anne Schwarz (eds.), The expression of information structure: a documentation of its diversity across Africa, vii-xii. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fiedler, Ines & Anne Schwarz. 2009. Focal aspects in the Lelemi verb system. Journal of West African Languages 36. 57-73.
  • Fiedler, Ines & Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2010. The expression of information structure: a documentation of its diversity across Africa (Typological Studies in Language; 91). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fiedler, Ines, Katharina Hartmann, Brigitte Reinke, Anne Schwarz & Malte Zimmermann. 2010. Subject focus in West African languages. In Malte Zimmermann & Caroline Féry (eds.), Information structure: theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives, 234-257. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ishihara, Shinichiro, Svetlana Petrova & Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2008. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 10 (Working Papers of the SFB 632). Potsdam: Universität Potsdam.
  • Ishihara, Shinichiro, Svetlana Petrova & Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2008. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 11 (Working Papers of the SFB 632). Potsdam: Universität Potsdam.
  • Payaguaje P., Aniceto A., Saida S. Payaguaje P. & Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2014. Siekopa̱ai aiowa’i koka këaye /Tradiciones orales de los secoya /Secoya Oral Traditions (Vol. 2) . Seattle: CreateSpace.
  • Payaguaje, Payaguaje , Eduardo Leopoldo, Carmen Luisa Piaguaje Lusitante & Anne Schwarz (eds.). 2013. Siekopa̱ai aipë koka këayë/Tradiciones orales de los secoya/Secoya Oral Traditions (Vol. 1). Seattle: CreateSpace.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2011. QUIS data from Buli, Konni and Baatonum. With notes on the comparative approach. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 16, Linguistic Fieldnotes III: Information structure in Gur and Kwa language. 1-48.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2010. Verb-and-predication focus markers in Gur. In Ines Fiedler & Anne Schwarz (eds.), The expression of information structure: a documentation of its diversity across Africa, 287-314. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2010. 'Long ears' - adjectives in Buli. In M. E. Kropp Dakubu, Nana Aba Amfo, E. K. Osam, K. K. Saah & G. Akanlig-Pare (eds.), Proceedings of the colloquium on the typology, lexicography and development of the languages of the Volta Basin, 12-17 January 2009, University of Ghana. Studies in the languages of the Volta basin 6, 133-148. Legon: University of Ghana, Linguistics Department.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2009. Tonal focus reflections in Buli and some Gur relatives. Lingua 119. 950-972.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2009. How many focus markers are there in Konkomba?. In Masangu Matondo, Fiona McLaughlin & Eric Potsdam (eds.), Selected proceedings of the 38th annual conference on African linguistics, 182-192. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
  • Schwarz, Anne. 2009. To be or not to be? About the copula system in Buli (Gur). In Margarida Petter & Ronald Beline Mendes (eds.), Proceedings of the special world congress of African linguistics - São Paulo 2008: Exploring the African Language Connection in the Americas, 263-278. São Paulo: Humanitas.
  • Schwarz, Anne & Ines Fiedler. 2010. Informationsstruktur - oder: Was es in der Grammatik zu entdecken gibt (Multimedia DVD). Potsdam: Universität Potsdam.

Recording examples

The language Secoya, native to the northwestern Amazonian lowlands, is spoken today by little more than 1,000 people in Ecuador and Peru. Within the research project "Documentation of Ecuadorian Secoya" which is funded for 1.5 years by Arcadia within The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages ​​Project at SOAS,* I cooperate with the Archive of Ecuadorian Languages at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute, Quito (FLACSO) and with the Department for Linguistics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). I also work closely with the speaker community in Ecuador. Since the Secoya dialects on the Ecuadorian side are increasingly under pressure from the outside due to the drastic socio-economic changes in the life of the speech community, some Secoya and I have joined in the initiative for the maintenance of their language. We hold workshops about language documentary topics and grammatical questions arising from the everyday practice of bilingual education, organize a linguistic competition and festivals during which the elders tell about mythical events. We also conduct sociolinguistic interviews and develop reading materials and a trilingual dictionary for the speech community.

* This project builds on previous research supported by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at James Cook University, and the Australian Research Council.

Transcript Juana Payaguaje als pdf

Transcript Aniceto Payaguaje als pdf