Sápara dictionary available

October 12, 2014

The Sápara dictionary that Christine Beier, Brenda Bowser, Vivian Wauters and I collaborated on preparing is now available through Abya Yala Press for the quite reasonable price of $18. Vivian Wauters, then a graduate student at UC Berkeley, gathered the majority of the primary lexical data on which the dictionary is based between May and August 2011, with the logistical, cultural interpretive, and community liason support of Sápara ethnoarcheologist and ethnographer Brenda Bowser, and her long time field assistant and collaborator, Julia Pichura. Christine Beier carried out crucial preliminary fieldwork in December 2010 – January 2011 in the town of Shell, and in May-June 2011 in the community of Jandiayacu, setting up the longest and most intense lexical data collection phase of the project, which ran May-August 2011.  Chris was also responsible for the vast majority of the considerable post-fieldwork organization and clean-up of the FLEx database, and the labor-intensive LaTeX typesetting of the dictionary manuscript. My own Sápara fieldwork was restricted to January and May-June 2011. The fieldwork component of the project was funded an NSF RAPID grant awarded to Brenda Bowser and Christine Beier. The back cover blurb for the dictionary, reproduced on the Abya-Yala page for the volume, reads:

Este diccionario es producto de un proyecto de documentación rápido e intensivo realizado entre el 2010 y 2011 con cinco de las últimas personas de la etnia sápara con conocimientos profundos sobre su idioma y cultura de herencia. La meta clave que distingue este de otros proyectos previos fue la de obtener datos que iluminan y estructura de la familia lingüística zaparoana, que incluye también los idiomas andoa, arabela e iquito. Hace unos siglos, estos idiomas tenían miles de hablantes en el Oriente del Ecuador y la parte occidental de Loreto, Perú, pero ahora todos estos idiomas se encuentran en alto peligro de extinción. Para entender mejor el papel de los pueblos e idiomas zaparoanos en la historia de la Amazonía, son imprescindibles investigaciones de naturaleza comparativa. Este diccionario fue preparado en forma trilingüe para maximizar su acceso a las comunidades Sáparas. El proyecto se llevó a cabo en cooperación con la Nación Sápara del Ecuador (NASE) y las ganancias de las ventas del diccionario se orientan a NASE por parte de los autores.

Tragically, Puruña Mucushigua, the last known fully fluent speaker of Sápara died just as the fieldwork component of the project was starting, but we had the good fortune to be able to work with Pedro Ernesto ‘Cesario’ Santi, who, although he had experienced some attrition of his knowledge of Sápara morphosyntax, still retained considerable lexical knowledge of Sápara. Three other semi-speakers, Ana María Santi, María Ushigua, and Vicinte Aliawkuri, also made important contributions. The ~1,100 headword dictionary resulting from the rapid documentation project is the most extensive lexical resource on the Sápara language, and will be invaluable for comparative work on the Zaparoan family. The final pdf draft of the dictionary, almost identical in content to the printed version, is available here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: