The Enxet documentation project

The Enxet documentation project

Language: Enxet Sur (ISO639-3:enx)
Depositor: John Elliott
Location: Paraguay
Deposit Id: 0435
Grant id: SG0439, SG0494
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Group represented
The Enxet Sur (or just Enxet) are one of six ethnolinguistic groups of the Enlhet-Enenlhet nation (speakers of Enlhet-Enenlhet or Mascoyan languages). At present, most speakers and singers in the corpus are residents of the indigenous communities of El Estribo or Armonía. Most residents of these communities are descended from the pesyapto, one of the pre-modern group affiliations constituting the modern Enxet Sur people. Most pesyapto previously lived on the lands of the Makxawaya Anglican mission a few hundred kilometers east of their present day communities, up until the late 20th century. Thus, in its current state, this deposit presents primarily the pesyapto variety of Enxet Sur. Some videos also include speakers of the sister language Enlhet Norte from the Enlhet Norte community of Paz del Chaco, mostly in the festival videos from October 2017.

Special characteristics
Much of this collection focuses on the use of traditional Enxet food and medicine in "bushwalk" style videos. These walking narratives and on-site procedural descriptions of the use and procurement of plants and animals present a view of Enxet life in the El Estribo community, and show how indigenous knowledge of the local landscape has allowed Enxet people to survive and thrive in the Paraguayan Chaco. The videos feature the collection of wild medicinal herbs, medicinal fungi, the collection of wild honey, and the hunting and butchering of a tapir. These walking videos, beyond presenting the relationship between Enxet culture, language, and territory, show the use of spatial and temporal deixis in the context of motion and change of location. The collection also features a series of videos from a multi-day Enxet Sur festival in October 2017, leading up to Indigenous Peoples Day on Oct 12. The festival videos show the performance of three common song and dance styles performed by the Enxet: the gourd rattle singing style known as kyáye, a group dance in the round with drumming called weygke néten, and a women's dance with deer hoof rattles called yammána. Other material in the collection includes traditional stories, historical narratives about the old Anglican mission and the founding of the modern Enxet Sur communities, a church sermon in Enxet Sur, and many hours of grammatical and lexical elicitation and consultation with native speakers.

Deposit history
The video corpus and associated materials come from two ELDP funded field projects, conducted from June to August in 2016 (SG0439) and from September to November in 2017 (SG0494), respectively. It also includes material collected during a trip from July to August in 2018, funded by the Bilinski Educational Foundation, and audio material from an initial field visit in June and July of 2015. All materials, including the audio recordings from 2015, were collected by John Elliott, the principal investigator, as part of his doctoral research. The planning and structure for most of the "bushwalk" videos is the work of Anival Lopez, co-director and primary consultant for this part of the project. Videos from the October 2017 festival were recorded at the invitation of Anival Lopez and Benigno Rojas, community leaders of the villages of Palo Santo and Santa Fe, respectively.

Other information

Información en castellano

Enxet Sur es una lengua de la familia linguistica Enlhet-Enenlhet (Maskoyan) de aproximadamente 4.000 hablantes repartidos por varias comunidades del departamento de Presidente Hayes en el Chaco paraguayo. El propósito de este proyecto es crear grabaciones anotadas de audio y video de Enxet con un enfoque en el uso tradicional de plantas y animales, establecer una base de datos léxica y comenzar un análisis estructural detallado para el enriquecimiento de un proyecto de documentación más a largo plazo.

Los usuarios de cualquier parte de la colección deben reconocer a John Elliott como el investigador principal, recolector de datos e investigador. Los usuarios también deben reconocer el Programa de Documentación de Idiomas en Peligro como el financiador del proyecto. Los hablantes individuales cuyas palabras y / o imágenes se usan, siempre y cuando su nombre se proporcione en los metadatos de un elemento determinado, debe ser reconocido por su nombre. Cualquier otro contribuyente que haya recopilado, transcripto o traducido los datos o haya estado implicado de otra manera debe ser reconocido por su nombre. Toda la información sobre contribuyentes está disponible en los metadatos.

Para referirse a cualquier dato del corpus, por favor cite el corpus de esta manera:

Elliott, John. 2016. The Enxet documentation project. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL:

Ninguno de los materiales en este depósito puede ser utilizado como evidencia en un tribunal de justicia sin el permiso expreso del investigador principal (contacto:

Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge John Elliott as the principal investigator, data collector and researcher. Users should also acknowledge the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as the funder of the project. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used, so long as their name is provided in the metadata for a given item, should be acknowledged by name. Any other contributor who has collected, transcribed or translated the data or was involved in any other way should be acknowledged by name. All information on contributors is available in the metadata.

To refer to any data from the corpus, please cite the corpus in this way:

Elliott, John. 2016. The Enxet documentation project. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL:

None of the materials in this deposit may be used as evidence in a court of law without the expressed permission of the principal investigator (contact:


Collection online
Resources online and curated


John Elliott
Affiliation: Univeristy of Hawai'i at Manoa

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2020 October 01 to 2020 October 01
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics

Showing 1 - 10 of 42 Items

This walk is the first done in the heavy brush to the north of Palo Santo and San Carlos. Anival shows how to harvest palm hearts, collect palo azul, and spot giant armadillo tracks.

Recorded on: 2016-06-30

This is a video of the full Sunday morning church service at the church for the adjacent villages of Palo Santo and San Carlos. Most Enxet Sur churches, including the one in Palo Santo/San Carlos, are part of the Anglican communion, dating back to the period of early Anglican missionary work in the late 19th century. As such, most of the church hymns -- sung here in Enxet Sur, Guaraní, and Spanish --- are translated versions of popular Anglican hymns. The primary purpose of this recording was to capture the sermon of Ceferino Sosa, based on 1 Peter 2:4-12, and as such only he is mic'd, and the introductory prayer by Nelson Franco is not. This represents a fairly typical Sunday morning service, and is not a special event.

Recorded on: 2017-11-12

In this video, Anival describes drought plants, bee keeping, uses for chili pepper, and other medicinal plants in his own garden and in the area around Palo Santo, El Estribo

Recorded on: 2016-06-29

In this video, a continuation of the recording session for deposit enx004, Anival talks about navigating the dense brush that dominates much of the Chaco landscape.

Recorded on: 2016-06-30

Here, a multi-generational group butchers a tapir that's just been shot in the woods outside Palo Santo. A group of young men work to prepare the carcass for transport back to the village. There is no transcription available as yet for this video, given the large number of participants, but this bundle includes a separate narration of the video by Anival Lopez.

Recorded on: 2016-07-26

Anival continues his description of life in the Makxawaya community of his childhood, focusing primarily on the centrality of church life in the community and the ways in which Enxet Sur people combined their own traditions with Christian practice. Ceferino Sosa, a village preacher, joins in the conversation from off-camera.

Recorded on: 2017-09-29

Accompanied by a couple of his grandchildren, Anival collects Palo Azul -- a valuable medicinal plant with a number of uses that knowledgeable Enxet Sur often collect in order to sell to Paraguayans in Asunción or Filadelfia.

Recorded on: 2017-09-29

Cirilo Benitez gives his account of the settlement of the El Estribo community in the early 1980's. He describes the difficulty of moving away from Makxawaya to a territory that was unfamiliar and with very limited resources.

Recorded on: 2017-10-10

Anival at the beginning of a walking session at the Laguna Juanita, El Estribo

Recorded on: 2016-07-04

In this short video, Anival shows how to easily remove thorns from cactus fruit for eating.

Recorded on: 2016-06-29