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Archive for the ‘Fieldwork’ Category

A Panará visiting Ottawa

Here are news from Bernat Bardagil-Mas about the visit of Perankô to our department:

In April, the Linguistics Department received the visit of Perankô, a speaker of Panará, directly from the Brazilian Amazon.  He came to Ottawa as the first step of a documentation grant awarded to Bernat by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) to document the Panará language for digital archiving (http://elar.soas.ac.uk/deposit/0418), but also as a way to contribute to his understanding of the Western world, of the situation of native American societies and languages in North America, and as an enriching personal experience. All along the 20 days that he spent here, we filmed him explaining his experiences in Panará so that he can have a vivid token of his visit.

In Ottawa, Perankô met with students and participated in the department life. He also saw snow for the first time, and realized just how cold it can be in Canada. He visited museums, the University campus, Parliament Hill, and a municipal swimming pool. He tried poutine, pancakes, hamburgers, ramen, phở, and a rabbit paella.

We were invited to visit the community of Kahnawà:ke, where Perankô did a Panará-Mohawk interview with two teachers that work on curriculum development for the Kahnawà:ke community. We also visited the traditional Mohawk longhouses, where rituals take place, and the community high school, where we acted as interpreters during two hours of conversation between Perankô and a small group of teachers and students.

Perankô also accompanied us on a work retreat to a cottage in Mont Tremblant. On the way back, we visited the Omega Park, where Perankô was able to satiate his curiosity about Canadian fauna.

Finally, Perankô obtained a last-minute tourist visa for the United States so that he could attend SAIL (the Symposium on American Indian Languages) at the RIT in Rochester, NY. We presented a Documentation Project for the Panará language, which includes a dictionary of Panará, a project in which the Panará are very invested. Perankô presented the introduction of the presentation, speaking in Panará with subtitles projected on the canvas behind him. Finally, Perankô had the opportunity to meet and discuss with researchers and members of native American groups.

From now on, deep in a forest between the Brazilian states of Pará and Mato Grosso, the members of this small community will all know about Canada and Ottawa, moose and squirrels, snow and slush, the Rideau canal, and the sandwiches at Café Alt.

(Thanks for the news to Bernat Bardagil-Mas who has been a visiting scholar at our department this past year).

Future linguists in the Amazon

Last June, Jérémie Beauchamp, Myriam Lapierre and Julie Barette, three students from the Linguistics Department, went to Brazil to accompany Prof. Andrés Salanova during his research and learn about linguistic field methodology in a real field setting.

They spent three weeks in the Djudjêkô village in the state of Pará, where about 350 Xikrins are living. They were able to take part in rituals, such as dancing and body painting, to practice speaking in Mebengokre to the villagers, and to form special bonds and friendships with the people. They had an experience of a lifetime.


Proposed new field research course

The linguistics department, with the Faculty of Arts’ enthusiastic support, is pushing to approve our first summer course in field linguistics! The course, provisionally called LIN4973 “Field Research”, aims to take a small number of students to the field in the summer of 2014, to learn the methodologies of collaborative linguistic fieldwork in the setting of an small community of speakers of Mebengokre, a Jê language of the Brazilian Amazon with which Andrés has worked for over a decade. In future years, the course aims to capitalize on our established fieldwork contacts in Canada and beyond. More details of what we hope to offer here.