Bridging linguistic research and linguistic documentation

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This article aims at discussing the relation between linguistic research and documentation projects based on a long term field experience among the Kuikuro, a Carib speaking people living in Southern Amazonia (Brazil). Kuikuro is an endangered language, spoken by about 600 individuals, who suffer the encroachment of Brazilian national society, whose dominant language is Portuguese. Whereas the linguistic documentation project started in 2000, with the additional proposal of recording ethnographic contexts of language use, the linguistic research began much earlier. The Kuikuro expectations and representations on research and documentation are described as well as their cultural presuppositions and consequences. Three moments characterize, along almost thirty years, the development of the relations between the researcher(s) and the native people: first, a suspicious reception; then, the domestication of the outsider; finally, the documentation project was assumed by the Kuikuro themselves, who never gave up their political and cultural agentivity. Keywords: Amazonian languages; Carib; Upper Xingu; Linguistic Documentation; Endangered Languages; DoBeS Program


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