Documentation of Bésiro, the endangered language of the Chiquitano people of Lowland Bolivia

The Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP) provides grants worldwide to for the linguistic documentation of endangered language and knowledge. Grantees create multimedia collection of endangered languages. These collections are preserved and made freely available through the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) housed at the library of SOAS University of London.

This project aims at documenting and describing Bésiro (ISO-639: cax), an under-described language spoken by the Chiquitanos in the Bolivian low-lands (Lat: -16, 7; Long: -61, 4). The collection recordings and their description will help classifying this language, which was said to be an isolate, but is now strongly suspected to be part of the Macro-Jê family. In collaboration with trained members of the community, this project will archive data on the language, produce a comprehensive grammar, pedagogical material and a Spanish-Bésiro dictionary. The task is urgent, since Bésiro, surrounded by Spanish, has become definitively endangered (5,000 speakers for 100,000 ethnic members). Primary investigator: Pierric Sans

Project Details


Location: Bolivia, South America, Americas Organiser(s): Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Project partner(s): CNRS - Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage (DDL), Université Lyon 2 Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £14,029.00 Commencement Date: 01/2006
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