Documentation and description of paraguayan Ayoreo, a language of the Chaco
|Depositor:||Santiago Gabriel Durante|
The area of Gran Chaco is a large territory of almost one million kilometers between Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and a small part of Brazil (Bartolomé 2000). It has various natural environments (Chaco oriental húmedo, Chaco central semiárido and Chaco occidental árido)and it is rich in terms of biodiversity. Almost 40 indigenous groups inhabit this space. They belong to the following families: Guaycuru, Mataco-mataguayan, Lule-Vilela, Tupi-Guaraní, Lengua-Mascoy, and Zamuco (Golluscio & Vidal 2009-10).
The only two Zamucoan languages, Chamacoco [cgo] and Ayoreo [ayo], are spoken in the northeastern Chaco. Ayoreo people are settled in Bolivia and Paraguay, between Grande river and Paraguay river. In Bolivia they live in Santa Cruz de la Sierra Department and in Paraguay they are located in the Departments of Alto Paraguay and Boquerón (Fabre 2005). The Ayoreo have been historically divided in numerous partialities: Garaigosode (‘people of the palm grove’), Tiegosode (‘people of the lake’), Totobiegosode (‘people of the wood’) and Ducodegosode (my consultants cannot recall the translation of this ethnonym). Once great enemies, in present days they live together in communities like Campo Loro. There are about 4000 speakers in Bolivia and 2600 in Paraguay (Fabre 2005).
The language is classified as ‘definitely endangered’ by the UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger (Moseley 2010). Almost everyone in Campo Loro speaks Ayoreo as their first language but the presence of Spanish in the community is spreading, due to an ongoing process of transculturization.
Group represented Ayoreo
Resources online and curated