Recording examples

The language Secoya, native to the northwestern Amazonian lowlands, is spoken today by little more than 1,000 people in Ecuador and Peru. Within the research project "Documentation of Ecuadorian Secoya" which is funded for 1.5 years by Arcadia within The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages ​​Project at SOAS,* I cooperate with the Archive of Ecuadorian Languages at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute, Quito (FLACSO) and with the Department for Linguistics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). I also work closely with the speaker community in Ecuador. Since the Secoya dialects on the Ecuadorian side are increasingly under pressure from the outside due to the drastic socio-economic changes in the life of the speech community, some Secoya and I have joined in the initiative for the maintenance of their language. We hold workshops about language documentary topics and grammatical questions arising from the everyday practice of bilingual education, organize a linguistic competition and festivals during which the elders tell about mythical events. We also conduct sociolinguistic interviews and develop reading materials and a trilingual dictionary for the speech community.

Secoya language day, 28.9.2013, San Pablo de Ka̱atëtsiaya (Katesiya)

In the series "Secoya Oral Traditions" we provide illustrated trilingual (Secoya, Spanish and English) editions of selected traditional stories in order to make them accessible to a wider public and to the young Secoya in particular.

The first volume with two short stories was published in 2013, the second volume in 2014. Volumes 3 will appear shortly. They come from a large collection of recordings from which we are building a digital annotated speech corpus. Listen to two short examples in the right column (with English subtitles).

* This project builds on previous research supported by the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at James Cook University, and the Australian Research Council.

Aniceto Payaguaje is telling a horror story that used to impress his youngest, now grown-up daughter (2013, San Pablo).
Juana Payaguaje is singing about how she observes with great concern that her children know Secoya cooking only insufficiently and switch to the food habits of the non-indigenous majority culture (2012, Sewaya).