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Maria Clotilde Chavarria-Mendoza
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Saint Paul, MN 55103)
Documenting the Endangered Oral Tradition of Ese Eja in Peru

This project will make it possible to obtain information about the oral tradition of Ese Eja, a Takanan language. Ese Eja has been registered as highly endangered language by the UNESCO, and is spoken in Peru. I intend to transcribe, analyze and translate an oral tradition corpus that includes myths, folktale and songs, previously collected between 2002 and 2005 in 30 hours of recordings made during several field trips. This project builds upon previous work, which produced and alphabet for the language and a handbook for literacy purposes (Chavarria 2001, 2003).The corpus I intend to work with has been collected in the Baawaja and Madre de Dios rivers in Peru. The texts require to be transcribed using the new alphabet and translated to Spanish and English. The final output of the project will not only serve as source material for the Ese Eja oral tradition itself, but will help to preserve a body of ethnographic and linguistic data that would otherwise be lost within a generation.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 5/31/2009