The living ethnolinguistic heritage of the Aikanã and Kwaza of Rondônia Brazil

The documentation project "The ethnolinguistic composition of southeastern Rondônia: The Aikanã, the Kwaza and their neighbours" (2012 - 2016) has resulted in a wealth of new information on the languages, culture and ethnohistory of the speakers of the highly endangered Aikanã and Kwaza language isolates, as well as several of their traditional neighbours. This information is contained in a substantial digital archive of audio and video recordings, containing linguistic, ethnohistorical and personal interviews, traditional narratives, singing and instrumental music, as well as material, intellectual and spiritual cultural practices, supplemented by photos and fieldnotes. During the follow-up project, the project will analyse different aspects of language, culture and ethnohistory. Within linguistics, an in-depth analysis of the Aikanã verb classification, reference tracking and deictic systems will be carried out. Within anthropology the kinship system and relations, musical culture and mythology, and the integration of the personal Aikanã and Kwaza ethnohistories in a coherent narrative, must fill in the blank in the literature on the region. For the indigenous community it is indispensable that projects have some immediate concrete relevance, in this case by directly attending certain necessities in the area of education and revitalisation. Therefore it is planned to integrate different linguistic and anthropological components of the project in the form of an online cultural encyclopedia of the Aikanã, a kind of multimedia dictionary with links to audio and video documents from the DobeS archive. The project will be carried out by Dr. Hein van der Voort (Museu Goeldi) with Lisa Grund (anthropology) and Joshua Birchall (linguistics)

PI: Dr. Hein van der Voort

Mitarbeiter: Dr. Lisa Grund, Dr. Joshua Birchall

Information: Prof. Dr. Manfred Krifka





03/2019 - 02/2020


Dr. Hein van der Voort