Veáse la versión en español, abajo.
Documenting Wounaan meu, or the Proyecto Tradición Oral Wounaan (PTOW), is a project being carried out from 2010 - 2013 with Wounaan leaders, Wounaan language experts, and anthropologists and linguists to linguistically describe the Wounaan language based on a corpus of sixty years of audio recordings of Wounaan oral traditions. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation's Documenting Endangered Languages grant #0966520 (UGA) and #0966046 (UA). The project's goals were to:
- Prepare audio recordings of Wounaan myths and legends, that span sixty years, for deposit in the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America and local archives in Panama.
- Expand the documentation and analysis of Wounaan meu and Wounaan culture by transcription and translation of at least 30 myths and legends, production of Wounaan meu distributional analyses, a Wounaan meu-Spanish dictionary, and possibly a pedagogic reference grammar if funds permit.
- Train native speakers from Panama in language documentation through transcription and translation protocols, linguistic analysis, materials development and computer skills.
- Make available to Wounaan the digitized versions of the stories, and disseminate to a wide audience the popular and scholarly research results.
- Coordinate with Panama's Ministry of Education to develop curriculum in Wounaan meu as part of the National Directorate of Bilingual Intercultural Education (EIB) insuring that the materials developed by the Project are officially recognized by the government for use in state schools.
This project was originally planned by Julia Velásquez Runk (lead PI, PI for UGA), Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy (PI for UA), and Ron Binder with Wounaan leaders and storytellers in 2008, and has the support of the Wounaan National Congress and the Foundation for the Development of Wounaan People (FUNDEPW), under the guidance of FUNDEPW PI Chenier Carpio Opua. Other members of the PTOW team are Wounaan language experts Toño Peña Conquista, Chindío Peña Ismare, Doris Cheucarama Membache, Tonny Membora Peña, and Chivio Membora Peña, as well as half-time administrator H. Roy Teucama Barrigón. Graduate student Bryan Gordon rounds out the PTOW team.
(Post the evaluation meeting, July 2013. Ron Binder, who participated via Skype, is not pictured.)
During the summer of 2013 the research team met and evaluated the project. Here we present our initial findings, some of which are password protected, corresponding with the above objectives. Please email Julie for access to the password.
1. Prepare audio recordings of Wounaan myths and legends, that span sixty years, for deposit in the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America and local archives in Panama.
Liz Kennedy (University of Arizona), Ron Binder (independent), and Julia Velásquez Runk (University of Georgia) have digitized and indexed most of their 347 audio recordings of Wounaan stories for August 2013 deposit at the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA) at the University of Texas, the Biblioteca Nacional de Panamá, and the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango in Bogotá, Colombia. Stories also are archived at the offices of the Wounaan National Congress in the Juan Díaz area of Panama City. The project team in consultation with the Wounaan National Congress and the Foundation for the Development of Wounaan People have made an access policy for those recordings and their subsequent transcriptions and translations.
(Listening to a digitized recording at initial research planning meeting in Panama, 2008)
2. Expand the documentation and analysis of Wounaan meu and Wounaan culture by transcription and translation of at least 30 myths and legends, production of Wounaan meu distributional analysis, a Wounaan meu-Spanish dictionary, and, possibly, a pedagogic reference grammar.
Wounaan language experts Toño Peña Conquista, Chindío Peña Ismare, Doris Cheucarama Membache, Tonny Membora Peña, and Chivio Membora Peña have worked full-time on the transcription and translation of the audio recordings, and together they have transcribed and translated 70 recordings of Wounaan traditional stories. The language experts have worked in Toolbox software to create a full transcription, transcription including suprasegmental prosodic features, literal translation in Spanish, and free translation for each story. They have done exceptional work, creating a transcription and translation protocol, resolving difficult translation issues as they arose, mastering complex audio and transcription software, and completing twice as many stories as originally proposed. Their transcriptions and translations will be ready to be added to the various archive deposits in fall 2013.
(Toolbox image of transcribed and translated text, 2010)
Linguistics and anthropology graduate student Bryan James Gordon has developed a grammatical sketch from the Wounaan meu distributional analysis. He completed that analysis by reviewing previous linguistics work on the language, mining the transcriptions for text, and consulting with the Wounaan language experts and linguist Ron Binder. Please email Julie for access to the password.
In addition, Bryan has made a Wounaan meu keyboard manager for both PC and Mac computers, which are at the bottom of this page. Feel free to download and install so that you can type in Wounaan meu. Instructions on keyboard installation are attached at the bottom of this page.
Linguist Ron Binder has drafted a 4,200-word Wounaan meu - Spanish dictionary in consultation with the advanced language experts (C. Peña Ismare and T. Peña Conquista). Each Wounaan meu entry includes part of speech, definitions, an illustrative sentence in Wounaan meu, a translation of the sentence in Spanish, and entries with important semantic relationships. This is a work-in-progress, and therefore access to the draft dictionary is accessible via password protection (please email Julie for access). Wounaan leaders and the project team will seek funding to at least double the number of dictionary entries prior to publication of the dictionary. Ron held a dictionary workshop with the language experts in September 2012, and will hold another workshop in January 2014.
(Page from the draft dictionary, 2013)
A pedagogic reference grammar cannot be completed until additional texts--for example, conversations, shamanic chants, gendered speech, and oratory--are gathered and analyzed. That said, the team remains deeply committed to developing a grammar and considers it foundational to bilingual intercultural education efforts.
3. Train native speakers from Panama in language documentation through transcription and translation protocols, linguistic analysis, materials development and computer skills.
Project anthropologists Julia Velásquez Runk, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, and linguists Ron Binder and Bryan James Gordon have trained Wounaan language experts in transcription and translation protocols, sociolinguistics, computer skills, Toolbox, Word, and PowerPoint software use, and on initial linguistic analyses. Advanced language experts Toño Peña Conquista and Chindío Peña Ismare have trained three additional Wounaan language experts through daily meetings and supervision. They have been aided by the computer skills of administrator H. Roy Teucama Barrigón. In addition, Julia has worked with Roy Teucama Barrigon on office norms, accounting, and Excel software training. Julia and Liz received NSF supplemental funding in the summer of 2012 to bring the Wounaan language experts to the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) at the University of Arizona. There the team received additional training via coursework in Introduction to Native American Linguistics and Multi-media in the Indigenous Classroom.
(PTOW team with Dr. Ofelia Zepeda, at the American Indian Language Development Institute, 2012)
4. Make available to Wounaan the digitized versions of the stories, and disseminate to a wide audience the popular and scholarly research results.
As mentioned above the project has archived the stories at the offices of the Wounaan National Congress in the Juan Díaz area of Panama City, and recordings also are available via internet from AILLA. The project will disseminate information on the project via a a weekly radio program, available in eastern Panama, in Wounaan meu. The project has presented their initial results to the bi-annual meeting of the Wounaan National Congress in January 2013. In addition, materials developed via the project are being used in the MEDUCA EIB curricula for Wounaan, see 5., below.
(Presenting at the Wounaan National Congress, January 2013. Photo by C. Halvorson)
The project has presented three talks on its initial analyses at the Congreso de Antropología Panameña, September 4 - 6, 2013. The project presentations were titled "Initial analysis of sociolinguistics changes in Wounaan storytelling," "Translating difficult concepts from Wounaan meu: Experiencias from transcribing and translating Wounaan oral traditions," and "The collaborative process in a project to document Wounaan meu." The project team will write up these article for publication during 2013.
5. Coordinate with Panama's Ministry of Education to develop curriculum in Wounaan meu as part of the National Directorate of Bilingual Intercultural Education (EIB) insuring that the materials developed by the Project are officially recognized by the government for use in state schools.
Over the last two years Wounaan language expert Tonny Membora Peña has been coordinating with Panama's National Directorate of Bilingual Intercultural Education (EIB) of the Ministry of Education. He has worked with the EIB program to develop curricular materials, proofed Wounaan meu in EIB documents, and coordinated teacher trainings with the project's advanced language experts (T. Peña Conquista and C. Peña Ismare) and EIB Wounaan coordinator Prof. Yani Cardenas. As a result, the project has worked with the EIB to develop 1) the MEDUCA EIB plan for 1st grade materials for Wounaan children; 2) the MEDUCA 1st grade EIB curricula for Wounaan 3) the MEDUCA preschool EIB curricula for Wounaan; 4) curricular materials on mathematics with a special emphasis on Wounaan culture; 5) curricular materials on music and art with a special emphasis on Wounaan culture; 6) a book on Wounaan schoolchildren's' stories. In addition, Tonny has selected stories to be incorporated in to the curricula for each grade. Over the last two years, EIB in coordination with the project has held four trainings of Wounaan teachers on the language. Finally, the project team has developed alphabet cards for distribution in Wounaan classrooms, which can be found at the bottom of this page.
(Alphabet card for the vowel, "ʌ")