Two on-line resources for Amazonianists
May 14, 2008
Fabre’s Diccionario etnolingüístico
I recently had a conversation that made me realize that not every single Amazonianist is familiar with Alain Fabre’s on-line Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos. Since I have found this to be the single most comprehensive and detailed bibliographic reference work on Amazonian languages currently available I though I should help publicize this resource.
The Diccionario is organized by language family, and within each family, Fabre provides information on genetic classification, numbers of speakers, and their location for each language. The greatest value of this work, however, lies in the incredible thoroughness of its bibliographic references on the languages and societies he covers. Of course, I can only judge the references on languages and language families with which I am familiar, but I have found the coverage to be truly impressive. Fabre has managed to locate both printed works of great obscurity and more recent out-of-the-way digital publications. In addition Fabre updates this work periodically, which means that it has steadily improved over time.
In a recent message, Eduardo Rivail Ribeiro informed me that the etnolinguistica.org site has been updated, redesigned, and has had a great deal of new information and material added to it. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, etnolinguistica.org is devoted to the linguistics of South America, and to a lesser but still significant degree, the ethnography of the region. The focus of the site is very much on Amazonia, and especially Brazilian Amazonia, but I think this simply reflects the center-of-gravity of the interests of those involved with the site.
The site has several very useful pages, including my favorite: a page of links to digital versions of MA and PhD theses on Amazonian languages. There is also a page providing links to open access on-line journals that focus on, or touch on, South American languages. Last, but certainly not least, a link is provided to join the etnolinguistica.org listserve, which I have found very informative and interesting.