Kofán Collaborative Project: Collection of Audio-Video Materials and Texts

Kofán Collaborative Project: Collection of Audio-Video Materials and Texts

Language: Cofán (ISO639-3: con)
Depositor: Scott AnderBois
Location: Ecuador
Deposit Id: 0466
Grant id: SG0481
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
This project documents A'ingae (also known as Kofán and Cofán), a linguistic isolate spoken by approximately 1,500 speakers in Ecuador and Colombia. The deposit consists of high quality audio and video recordings of speakers talking about a variety of different topics and covers different kinds of speech events/genres.

Group represented

This collection represents A'ingae as spoken in Zábalo, Ecuador.

The UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages estimates 1079 speakers total and classifies A'ingae as 'definitely endangered' in Ecuador and 'severely endangered' in Colombia. However, the language is still robustly being learned by children and remains the primary language of daily use in most communities in Ecuador according to Cepek 2012, p.c.

The A'i are traditionally hunter-gatherers whose territory was centered in the Andean foothills extending down into the Amazonian rainforest. Since the discovery of large oil reserves in the region in the 1960s, the Kofán and their land have seen dramatic changes. Less remote towns – Sinangoe and Dovuno – have seen an influx of colonists, new roads, and other changes. Together with environmental devastation from oil exploration and extraction, these pressures have forced the A'i to move from their ancestral territories. Relative to this baseline, the A’i have been comparatively successful at securing land rights and preserving their traditional ways of life including their language (see Cepek 2018 for details).

Language information

A'ingae is an isolate spoken by an estimated 1,500 speakers in communities near the Aguarico and San Miguel rivers in Northeastern Ecuador and Colombia. The first significant linguistic work on A'ingae is the work of SIL missionaries Marlytte (Bub) and Roberta (Bobbie) Borman. The two main descriptive works they produced are a ~2,500 word A'ingae-Spanish bilingual dictionary including grammatical notes (Borman 1976) and a collection of 26 trilingual A'ingae-English-Spanish texts about cosmology from a single speaker, Enrique Criollo, totaling 1,953 lines (Borman 1990). Other less extensive works include papers on specific topics such as phonology (Borman 1962), pragmatics (Borman 1977), and (co-)subordination (Fischer 2007, Fischer and van Lier 2012). More recently, Fischer and Hengeveld (forthcoming) provides the most comprehensive and sophisticated overview of the grammar of A’ingae, based on the first author’s fieldwork in the early to mid-2000s.

While a detailed study of language contact including borrowings is yet to be conducted, A'ingae shows a moderate number of apparently quite recent borrowings from Spanish. Beyond Spanish, speakers of A’ingae have also experienced significant periods of contact with Ecuadorian Kichwa, Tukanoan languages such as Siona and Secoya, and Tupian languages, such as Cocama, with some intermarriage in recent decades (Cepek 2018). Several secondary sources mention borrowings or other connections with other families such as Chibchan, though such claims have yet to be substantiated and there is no known contact with such groups at present.

Deposit contents

The deposit consists of approximately 17 hours of naturalistic video and a small amount of additional audio wordlists. The recordings comprise 25 speakers, roughly one third of Zábalo's adult population. They cover a variety of different topics and genres including traditional stories, jokes, autobiographical narratives, explanations of how to make traditional crafts and foods, hunting, protecting the local environment among others. Interviews were conducted in A'ingae by 3 native speakers who are members of the project team. While collecting more naturalistic conversation is a goal for future work, some of these recordings are more or less conversational in nature.

Deposit history

The data in this deposit was mainly collected in July and August of 2017.

Other information

Acknowledgement and citation

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

AnderBois, Scott and Wilson Silva. 2018. Kofán Collaborative Project: Collection of Audio-Video Materials and Texts. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: https://elar.soas.ac.uk/Collection/MPI1079687. Accessed on [insert date here].


Collection online
Resources online and curated


Scott AnderBois
Affiliation: Brown University

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 May 23 to 2019 May 23
Deposit hits:4
Downloaded files
U 14

Showing 1 - 10 of 25 Items

Interview with Ana Rosa Lucitante Quenamá in her house in Zábalo, Ecuador. Includes photos as well as audio and video featuring autobiographical stories and oral histories.

Recorded on: 2017-08-01

Interview with Angel Criollo. Audio and video of interviewee's autobiography and other stories.

Recorded on: 2017-07-30

Interview in Carmensa Lucitante Criollo and her husband Juanito's residence, with Hugo Lucitante (RA), Jorge Criollo (RA), Scott AnderBois (PI) present. Audio and video of the interviewee's autobiography, a word list, and stories about fishing, hunting, and school. Photos included.

Recorded on: 2017-08-01

Carmensa Lucitante Criollo, Hugo Lucitante, Jorge Mendua

Recorded on: 2017-08-01

Keywords: Cofán - Unspecified

TurtlAn interview with Braulio Rodof Criollo Alvarado, conducted in Zábalo starting at 9:58am. The topics include his autobiography, a story about the Cofán, a story of the Mud Woman, the Turtle Project, and a story about the Toad Woman. 20170806_permission_BRCA was recoded from 9:85am to 10:01am. Only Braulio appears in the recording. 20170806_autobiography_BRCA was recorded from 10:02am to 10:04am. In the recording, Braulio reveals he was born in Dureno, moved to Zábalo at eight, married at nineteen. 20170806_sapo_pushesu_BRCA was recorded from 10:09am to 10:18am. The recording is of a traditional story. Kids in the background can be heard making noise around 10:10am. 20170806_apicha_pushesu_BRCA was recorded from 10:21am to 10:21am. The recording is of a traditional story. Clothes being washed can be heard in the background. 20170806_aindekhu_kundasepa_BRCA was recorded from 10:30am to 10:41am. Motor boat can be heard in the background around 10:40am. 20170806_charapa_proyecto_BRCA was recorded from 10:42:30am to 11:12am. In the recording, Braulio narrates about turtle egg hatching.Tur

Recorded on: 2017-08-06

An interview with Dina Erlisa Mendua Quenamá, conducted in Zábalo starting at 11:34am. The topics include chicha preparation, shigra making, and food preparation. 20170806_como_preparar_chicha_DEMQ was recorded from 11:34 to 11:42. A boat motor can be heard in the recording around 11:35:40. 20170806_shigra_making_DEMQ was recorded from 11:46 to 11:52. Intermittent rooster noise can be heard in the recording. 20170806_preparing_foods_DEMQ was recorded from 11:56 to 12:02.

Recorded on: 2017-08-06

An interview with Fausto Aurelio Criollo Quintero. The topics include an autobiography, a story about Ambo, a story about Chimbi, a story about Erision, a story about the hare, a story about hunting, a story about storm, a story about the bear, and a story about yaje (ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic).

Recorded on: 2017-08-04

An interview with Freddy Criollo, conducted in the Pacuya community on the left side of the river near the Zábalo village. Includes videos, audio, and photos. Speaker gave consent/permission to use all the materials collected during this session. In 20170807_consent_fc, Hugo Lucitante reads the consent protocol for Freddy. Recorded outside, under a tree. In 20170807_autobiography_fc, Freddy talks about his life. Recorded outside, with noise of birds and children in the distance. In 20170807_oil_company_work_fc, Freddy talks about his work experience with the oil company up in Cuyabeno. Recorded outside, with noise of birds and children in the distance. In 20170807_day_inthe_community_fc, Freddy talks about an average day in the community (i.e. what people do). Recorded outside, with noise of birds and children in the distance. In 20170807_the_weekend_fc, Freddy talks about what he did this past weekend. Recorded outside, with noise of birds and children in the distance. In 20170807_harpe_eagle_project_fc, Freddy talks about his experience working for the harpy eagle project. Recorded outside, with noise of birds and children in the distance.

Recorded on: 2017-08-07

An interview with Rosila Alvarado conducted in Zábalo on the right side of the river. Speaker gave consent/permission to use all the materials collected during this session. In 20170806_consent_iy, Shen Aguinda reads the consent protocol to Isenia. Recorded inside, with noise of animals and people in the background. In 20170806_making_cassave_1_iy, Isenia explains the first step of making cassave: girding the yuca. Recorded outside, with noise of animals and people in the background; there’s also the noise of girding yuca while talking. In 20170806_making_cassave_2_iy, Isenia explain the second step in making cassave: squeezing the ground yuca. Recorded inside, with noise of animals and people in the background. In 20170806_making_cassave_3_iy, Isenia explain the third step in making cassave: sieving the ground manioc. Recorded outside, with noise of birds and other people. In 20170806_making_cassave_4_iy, Isenia explains the fourth and final step of making cassava: putting on the oven and making the flat bread. Recorded outside with the noise of people talking.

Recorded on: 2017-08-06

An interview with Jhoni Wilka Wilson. Contains video, audio, and photos. In Autobiography, he talks about Shell and other companies that came to the area. For this recording, the video is across three files; the audio is all contained within one file. In Canjansi, he tells a narrative about an anaconda who united the Cofán. In Como vivía antes, he talks about how the Cofán lived in the past, such as hunting.

Recorded on: 2017-08-07