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Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

» The Shiwilu (Jebero) Language

Until recently, thShiwilu Kidse Shiwilu language was very little known to scholars. The only professional linguist who had investigated the language was John T. Bendor-Samuel, who completed a dissertation on the Shiwilu verb in 1958 (see, Bibliography of Kawapanan Linguistics). For almost five decades there was practically no attempt to document or describe the language. Moreover, until the beginning of the present century, linguists were not even sure if any fluent speakers remained. There was no dictionary, grammar, text collection, or even a more or less agreed upon orthography.

Since the implementation of the Kawapanan Project (NSF #0853285), the situation described above has significantly changed. We have access to a few studies focusing on different aspects of Shiwilu as well as a comparative work on the Kawapanan family (please, see list below). Also, the Project has produced a trilingual Shiwilu-English-Spanish dictionary containing over 6,400 entries, accompanied by plenty of illustrative sentences and some grammar information, a collection of narratives in Shiwilu and Spanish (in Valenzuela, 2012), and some pedagogical materials that include a practical guide to write the language. In addition to this, a large number of audio/video recordings that represent the speech of almost all the speakers of the language have been deposited in the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA).

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