The spread of internet access successively further from urban centers in South America to more rural areas, and to an increasing number of indigenous communities in particular (as in this case), presents a potentially very promising solution to a major challenge faced by collaborating groups of linguists and speakers of Indigenous languages, namely, how to make the products of these collaborations available to Indigenous communities. My collaborators and I have, for example, mainly sharing such products by printing and delivering paper copies of works like dictionaries and teaching materials. This is certainly much better than nothing, but such materials tend not to have a very long lifespan in the rainforest communities in which we work, and exclude certain kinds of things that are of interest to community members, such as audio or video recordings.
The moment is clearly ripe for innovation and experimentation, from models based on local and regional linguistic archives (like this one), to more specifically community-oriented websites. I recently learned of one such recently launched website that I want to share here: Tape Ayvu, a site dedicated to sharing materials in and about Paĩ Tavyterã Guaraní, a variety belonging to Guaranian subgroup of the Tupi-Guarani family.
This website is the product of a collaboration led by Celeste Escobar, currently a professor at the Universidad Nacional de Itapúa (UNI) in Paraguay, involving elders from the elders from over 10 Paī communities, co-authors of various texts presented on the site, and colleagues from CIESAS, UNAM, and UT Austin, with the support of UNI and the Paraguayan government at different stages. The site is in the midst of being developed further, but already includes one extensive oral text, that is accessible in both video and pdf format, a general Paĩ Tavyterã vocabulary, and photos and videos of Paĩ Tavyterã practices. In addition, the website makes available several of Celeste Escobar’s academic publications on Paĩ Tavyterã. Finally, the entire site is available in both Spanish and Guaraní versions.
I look forward to seeing how the site develops and learning about how members of the Paĩ Tavyterã communities make use of it.