Language and culture of the Urarina people of Peru: preparation of grammar and dictionary for an endangered language

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.

Urarina is a language isolate spoke by less than 3000 people in the Province of Loreto, Peru. Recent contact with oil companies and traders has led to cultural loss and linguistic shift to Spanish in some communities. The project is to conduct a comprehensive study of the Urarina language and the culture of its speakers. It aims at the production of a thorough documentation of the language. This will include a comprehensive descriptive grammar written in terms of basic linguistic theory, which will be accessible to scholars from a wide range of backgrounds. The development of a comprehensive multilingual Urarina-Spanish-English dictionary is the second significant task. This dictionary will provide the Urarina people with a practical resource to be used in language maintenance programmes. It will serve as an important repository for cultural significant information. In addition, the project aims at producing an account of social and cultural aspects of Urarina life.

Project archive deposit:

Material from the project is available here Primary investigator: Knut Olawsky

Project Details


Location: Peru, South America, Peru, Peru, Americas, United States of America Organiser(s): Endangered Languages Documentation Programme Project partner(s): Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £64,362.00 Commencement Date: 01/1999
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