Muniche documentation

I arrived back in Lima a few days ago, which means that I have been meeting with colleagues and friends in the short time that remains before I return to the US. One of more interesting meetings was with Karina Sullón, a young Peruvian linguist whom I came to know through her participation in the Iquito Language Documentation Project. Karina returned recently from an exploratory trip to the community of Munichis, near the town of Yurimaguas, where the last speakers of Muniche live.

The purpose of Karina’s visit, for which I helped obtain funding, was to determine if a project aimed at the documentation of Muniche would be feasible. The only significant documentation of the language to date is Gibson (1996) (available here), which provides a description of the phonology and morphology of the language, and a small lexicon. The last fluent speaker of the language died in the late 1990s, but Karina found several ‘rusty’ speakers who retain significant knowledge of the language. In the course of a week’s work with these speakers, Karina determined that lexical, morphological, and basic syntactic work was feasible with these speakers. Given the modest documentation available on this language, a limited documentation project seems worth the effort, and Karina will be returning soon for a month of documentation work. I am very much looking forward to seeing the results of Karina’s work.

Gibson, Michael L. 1996. El Munichi: Un idioma que se extingue.‭ Serie Lingüística Peruana, 42. Pucallpa: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.


4 thoughts on “Muniche documentation

  1. Glad you guys were able to find something worth while there. I was searching and searching for those files but couldn’t find them. Hopefully you’re able to get some good data from the few speakers left.

  2. Hey Josh,

    Thanks for looking for those files. Stay tuned for further developments!


    (For other readers of the blog, I want to mention that it was Josh who initially stimulated my interest in Muniche by describing his experiences in the community with the remaining speakers of the language. Since I didn’t have the time to make a field trip personally, my wife Chris and I decided to contact Karina, who was very excited to make the trip.)

  3. Interesting. That was my work that is published, which I did in 1987-8, while doing my BA. I keep on thinking about going back into my notebooks and seeing what else is in there. I also have some recordings somewhere on cassette.

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