Accepted Paper:

Language endangerment and revitalization in the Ignaciano dialect of Chiquitano  
Luca Ciucci (James Cook University)

Paper short abstract:

Chiquitano is a language spoken in southeastern Bolivia. It is seriously endangered, being spoken by a few thousands of people. With data from my fieldwork, I will analyse the case of the Ignaciano dialect of Chiquitano, showing how linguistic analysis can contribute to its revitalization.

Paper long abstract:

Chiquitano (aka Bésɨro) is an indigenous language spoken in the lowlands of southeastern Bolivia. The Chiquitano (aka Monkoka) are one of the largest ethnical groups of Bolivia, with over 145,000 people recognizing themselves as Chiquitano. Chiquitano in the past played an important role as the lingua franca of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, but now it is seriously endangered, being spoken by a few thousands of people. Chiquitano was recently included among the official languages of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, so that there are efforts to teach Chiquitano at school and to favour its use in the public context. The language taught at school reflects the Chiquitano dialect with most speakers, located in the region of Lomerío. However, since Chiquitano was spoken in a very large area, it consists of several underdescribed dialects, which are still spoken by a few people in their respective communities. The difference of these dialects from the main variety of Chiquitano is a problem for the preservation and revitalization of the language in these communities. Here the population perceives that the language taught in schoolbooks is not the same as the one spoken by the old people, who are the keepers of local cultural traditions. In this talk, with data from my fieldwork, I will analyse the case of the Chiquitano dialect spoken in the area around the mission of San Ignacio de Velasco (aka Ignaciano), showing how linguistic analysis can contribute to the revitalization of the language and its dialects.

Panel P33
Language movements: endangerment, revitalisation, and social transformation