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Collaborative Documentation and Description of Mako, a Sáliban Language of Venezuela


  Contact person
Jorge Emilio ROSES LABRADA

Scientific framework and objectives

Framed within the Community-Based Language Research model of language documentation, this research project aimed at documenting and describing Mako, an indigenous language spoken in the Venezuelan Amazon by approximately 1,200 people and for which the only accessible material before the start of the project were 38 words. The goals of the project being twofold – 1) to create a corpus and a grammar of the language and 2) to study the vitality of the language in the communities where it is spoken –, this project resulted in a grammatical description as well as an in-depth study of Mako language vitality, both included in The Mako Language: Vitality, Grammar and Classification (PhD dissertation, Western University & Université Lumière Lyon 2). Additionally, this research contributed to the study of the other Sáliban languages and to the reconstruction of their common ancestor. Because of its contribution to the study of Mako and to our understanding of Native American languages, this dissertation received the 2015 Mary R. Haas Book Award from the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA).


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