Our days in Brazil are beginning to follow a familiar routine: our team would be up by 7-8 for breakfast at our hostel, get picked up just past 9am, head to the university campus (located just minutes away), and be ready for our elicitation sessions at 10am. These would last 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon. This morning, we arrived at UERR much earlier than usual, and spent some time with Suzi discussing our progress researching our respective languages thus far.
As always, we broke into our small groups to continue working through our questionnaires. Guilherme and Josemar worked on adjectives, comparatives and measurements in Ye’kwana, while Octavia, Suzi and Diene did the same in Taurepang. As for my group, we continued exploring where reduplication is possible in different types of Macuxi verbs. For the very first time, (and I was quite excited (but nervous) about this) I had the opportunity to work with both Macuxi consultants, França and Olendina, at the same time. Since they speak slightly different varieties of Macuxi, it was interesting to observe how they would deliberate, agree or disagree on a particular sentence or construction that I bring up.
It’s also quite heartwarming to see that after just a few days, we (our research team and the consultants) are all getting familiar with and warming up to each other. Guilherme, Octavia and I are picking up more and more interesting aspects of our research languages as these elicitation sessions go by, and we’ve been eagerly sharing these patterns with each other during our breaks.
Our fruitful day at the university ended at 3pm, just as the heavy rain finally subsided. We headed back to our hostel, where Octavia set up her new go-to siesta spot: a very inviting hammock just outside our rooms. After a short rest, we were once again picked up and whisked off to revisit Tapiocaria Cangaço to satisfy our tapioca and cuscuz cravings. Our team had a lovely time, bonding over good food and some hearty laughs (about memes, telenovela tropes, and their relevance to the real world).
Our evenings in Brazil follow a certain routine as well: after the post-dinner food coma, we would rest a little bit, before organising our notes and preparing for the next day. We are collecting large amounts of data through these elicitation sessions, and sorting out these notes is crucial to figure out what sorts of questions we’d like to investigate next!
And hence ends Day 4 — we haven’t quite figured out whether it’s the heat/humidity, or the sheer amount of brain-work that makes these days quite tiring, but we’re certainly not complaining!
Here’s looking forward to another rewarding day tomorrow.
By Gregory Antono