Day 2: May 14th

May 14th 

Today was the first day of elicitations for our group. Each of us have been assigned a specific Brazilian Indigenous language, Macuxi for Greg, Ye’kwana for Guilherme and Taurepang for me (Octavia). In the morning, Guilherme and I worked alongside Suzi on Taurepang. The Taurepang consultant was Diene, a Taurepang woman who attends the Federal University of Roraima. We were also accompanied by Isabella’s student Vitória during this session. We began with translating a simple noun list and then moved onto adjectives and the different instances they could be used. Diene was very knowledgeable and provided us with detailed answers. Greg and Isabella worked with Olendina on Macuxi with focus on translating nouns and verbs, and verb paradigms. Isabella’s students accompanied the session as well. After our first session, we broke for lunch at the student café.

In the afternoon we continued with our elicitation session, Guilherme and I continued to work alongside Suzi on Taurepang with Diene for the first hour. In the second hour, the Ye’kwana consultant Josemar arrived. Guilherme and Isabella worked together on translations of adjectival constructions in Ye’kwana for the rest of the afternoon. Greg continued working on Macuxi but with a new consultant: França. Although a new experience for us all, with different challenges such as language barriers or lack of experience, it was a great first day. A great deal of data was collected, and personally it feels as though I am piecing together a puzzle with each sentence.

Later in the evening, we went to a restaurant called Tapiocaria Cangaço that served local food such as tapioca (similar to crepes but with a different texture), cuscuz, and various juices made of local fruit such as soursop and cashew. The restaurant had a northeast  theme throughout with different photos and art representing this region of Brazil. The food was excellent, and no one had any complaints. It was a great look into local cuisine and had amazing ambiance.

Overall it was a jam-packed day with new and exciting experiences throughout!

Post by Octavia Andrade-Dixon


Taurepang group
The Taurepang group



The Ye’kwana group



The Macuxi group (afternoon)
The Macuxi group (morning)



Guilherme, Greg, Octavia, Suzi and Isabella at Tapiocaria Cangaço



Octavia and Greg met cuscuz!
Guilherme enjoying a cuscuz and a a cupuaçu and chocolate tapioca


Day 1

And so it begins! The UofT group – Suzi Lima, Greg Antono, Guilherme Teruya, Octavia Andrade-Dixon – met with professor Isabella Coutinho (State University of Roraima) who took the group to a quick tour on campus. During the tour, we met with Professor Carlos Borges (Pró-Reitor de Pesquisa/UERR) and Professor Rildo Dias (Diretor de Pós-Graduação/UERR).

After lunch, we met for the first class about fieldwork methodology.



Octavia Andrade-Dixon (UofT), Greg Antono (UofT), Guilherme Teruya (UofT), Professor Rildo Dias (UERR), Professor Suzi Lima (UofT), Professor Carlos Borges (UERR),and Professor Isabella Coutinho (UERR)


REP course: 2019

In May 2019, the REP course “Brazilian indigenous languages: documentation, language maintenance and revitalization” will be taught in Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil.

tn_roriama-stateThis year, we will learn about the Brazilian indigenous languages spoken in Roraima.

We would like to thank in advance the State University of Roraima and professor Isabella Coutinho for their support.




(by Suzi Lima)

Today we concluded our (intensive) course on fieldwork methods based on Brazilian languages. I would like to take a moment to say that this was a rewarding experience for me, as an instructor, for two reasons. First, because of the participation of four women who are leading research on indigenous languages and cultures to new and interesting directions and who are an example for other women: Anari (speaker of Patxohã), Francy (speaker of Nheengatu), Nelly (speaker of Marubo) and Sandra (speaker of Guarani Ñandeva). I was very honored to be able to work with them and learn more about them and their research. Second, because of our students from Canada  (Cal, Karoline, Natália, Tiffany, Vidhya) as well as my colleague Ivona and our teaching assistant Ohanna. This was the first fieldwork experience of the students and I was glad to be able to share their excitement, their engagement and their interest during the whole course. I am grateful to all people who participated in this course. I would also like to thank the Museu do Índio and the UofT International Program for making this course possible. Obrigada!

Hoje concluímos nosso curso (intensivo) sobre métodos de trabalho de campo a partir de línguas indígenas brasileiras. Gostaria de tomar um momento para dizer que esta foi uma experiência gratificante para mim, como professora responsável pelo curso, principalmente por dois motivos. Primeiro, por causa da participação de quatro mulheres que estão desenvolvendo excelentes pesquisas na área de línguas e culturas indígenas e que estão sendo um exemplo para outras mulheres: Anari (falante de Patxohã), Francy (falante de Nheengatu), Nelly (falante de Marubo) e Sandra (falante de Guarani Ñandeva). Fiquei muito honrada em poder trabalhar com elas e aprender mais sobre elas e suas pesquisas. Em segundo lugar, por causa dos nossos alunos do Canadá (Cal, Karoline, Natália, Tiffany, Vidhya) assim como por causa da minha colega Ivona e da assistente do curso Ohanna. Para todos os alunos presentes, esta foi a primeira experiência como pesquisadores de campo e eu fiquei feliz em ver a sua alegria, engajamento e interesse durante toda a semana. Agradeço a todas as pessoas que participaram deste curso, o Museu do Índio por todo o apoio logístico e gentileza, e o Programa Internacional UofT para tornar possível este curso. Obrigada!

Day 7 (August 23)

Day 7 (by Natália Londoño)

Waking up, getting ready and getting on the “Metrô” to get to Botafogo feels natural by now. As we get used to the city, the museum and the work, we become more comfortable and more efficient. Rio starts to feel more and more like home, and the thought of going back to a place without tapioca and açai in every corner feels scary. The people at Museu do Indio have also started to get more used to our presence, and every day more conversations spark between us.

However, the work itself doesn’t feel familiar. Every question we ask, and every conversation we have sheds light on a new thing we didn’t know about any given language. We discover new things minute by minute and we apply what we learn in previous days to what we are doing right now. For every question we answer, there are a million unanswered questions and mysteries about these languages, and I think that is what makes it so easy to keep doing this day by day. The intrigue and excitement of what we might learn the next session is hard to contain.

So, if you are wondering what each one of us was excited about today, here is how are day looked. Today’s morning and afternoon sessions looked very similar. Me (Natalia), Cal, and Karoline worked together with Francy to document count/mass distinctions in Nheengatu. While we did that, Suzi and Anari took on the same task for Patxohã. The rest of our crew, Vidhya, Tiffany, and Ivona, worked on animacy in Marubo with Nelly.

In the afternoon, we were all exhausted. All the excitement, work, and new discoveries took a toll on our body so we decided to have a chill afternoon. The professors moved out of the house today, leaving a feeling of emptiness around the house. To take our minds off this, we decided to go to Ipanema (a beach close by) and have a students’ meal together.

We went to a trendy restaurant called Felize café chosen by Cal and Karoline that featured made-in-house gelato. After this nice evening out, we came home early and now we are about to sleep. Sweet dreams to all, goodnight.



Day 6 (August 22)

Day 6 (by Cal Janik-Jones)

On our third day of elicitations, we finally managed to catch some better weather and arrived early, at 9am, at Museo do Indio.

It was a little quieter in the group today, as some of our consultants took part of the day off. Many of us moved around to start working with new consultants and languages. In the morning, Sandra (our Guarani Nandeva consultant) worked with Tiffany, Cal, and Ivona on the count-mass questionnaire.

Karoline, Vidhya, Natalia, Suzi continued to work with Anari (our Patxoha consultant) on the count-mass questionnaire from the day before.

In the afternoon, some of us moved again. Sandra was working with Karoline, Natalia, Tiffany, and Ivona in the afternoon to continue the animacy questionnaire from the previous two days, which they wrapped up by the end of the day.

Suzi, Vidhya, and Cal talked with Nelly (our Marubo consultant) on the count-mass questionnaire. Suzi and Vidhya had already worked with Nelly on Marubo before, but Cal was jumping in.


Marubo group.JPG
Vidhya, Cal, Nelly, Mutuá Kuikuro and Suzi
Guarani group.JPG
Sandra, Natália, Karoline, Ivona, Tiffany.

Moving to new consultants and looking at new languages definitely wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun! Many members of the group started to notice how things differ between languages, but also some consistent patterns that we shared.

In the evening, Natalia, Cal, Karoline, and Vidhya went with Suzi to the Museu de Arte do Rio for an exhibition on Indigenous cultures in Rio and Brazil. The exhibition interwove a variety of indigenous art and artifacts with the history of Rio de Janiero. It was an enlightening experience to see the historical and cultural context of the work we were doing, in a hands-on way.

Cal, Suzi, Vidhya, Karoline and Natália at Praça Mauá

Afterwards as the sun went down and the Museu de Arte closed for the night, we explored Maua Square and the Museu do Amanha in downtown Rio, and snapped some beautiful pictures!

Museu do Amanhã.JPG
Museu do Amanhã


Day 5 (August 21)

Day 5 (by Vidhya Elango and Natália Londoño) 

On our second day of elicitations, we took off in the cold and rain to Museu do Indio, arriving just before ten. We had two new faces in our group today.  The first, Anari is a new consultant. She is a speaker of Patxohã. It had gone extinct, but the community had reconstructed it and it has been taught in schools since the 1990s. Anari wrote about this process in her master’s thesis. It is especially interesting to work with Patxohã since it is a reconstructed language, and very little linguistics research has been done on it. Suzi worked with Anari on the count-mass questionnaire.


Nelly and Anari.JPG
Count-mass questionnaire: Vidhya, Nelly, Suzi and Anari.


            The second new face was Ohanna, our TA. She is an expert on count-mass and will be helping us with our elicitations. She worked with Ivona, Cal, and Tiffany on the animacy questionnaire with Francy, our Nheengatu consultant.


Day 5 Nheengatu.JPG
Animacy queastionnaire: Ohanna (TA), Francy, Cal, Tiffany and Ivona.



            As for the rest of us, Karoline and Natália continued to work on the animacy questionnaire with Sandra (Guaraní Ñandeva) and Vidhya and Suzi kept working on count-mass in Marubo with Nelly.  


Day 5 NG.JPG
Animacy questionnaire: Sandra, Natália, Karoline.


            The day went by quickly as we gathered our data. We often remarked at how much data we were getting from a single day (some of us are going to need to buy new notebooks soon). Fieldwork is a challenge – it’s difficult to prioritize and ask the right questions – but also immensely rewarding.

 Natalia Tiffany and Suzi went to CCB (Centro Cultural do Banco do Brazil) to see an exhibition on Tropicália in honour of the genre’s 50th anniversary. The art and music exhibit showcased the genre’s most important singers, poets, and songs. The installations were thorough, they were aesthetically pleasing and in line with the genre. It was a great experience for both, hard-core fans, and first timers.


Natália-  who learned about Tropicália in the course PRT 320 at UofT –  very excited to reencounter the lyrics of the song “Bat Macumba” at the CCBB exbithion.


Day 4 (August 20)

Day 4 (by Karoline Antonsen)

Today we had our much-deserved full day off after yesterday’s presentations and Friday’s elicitation tests. A group of us traveled to Corcovado Mountain and got to see Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor in Brazilian Portuguese). However, while we got to enjoy the magnificent view and even got a mini-photoshoot, we ran the risk of getting blown away by the strong winds at the top of the mountain. Then we waited two more hours before leaving because the train could not come up the mountain because of the same wind gusts. Nevertheless, we persisted, and it was all worth it.


Cal, Karoline, Vidhya and Natália visit the Cristo Redentor


Later in the evening, everyone gathered in the kitchen for a meeting on our work so far (including a discussion about how to organize the data while in the field and how to gloss examples properly) and our plans for the week to come (including both work and some fun evening activities).


Suzi Lima and students: organizational meeting and mini-workshop on how to gloss examples properly


For the rest of the week, we will be having these meetings at 9 a.m. before we start our interviews for the day. We went over how far each group had gotten with their questionnaires on Friday, discussed the next steps each group needed to take with those questionnaires, and rearranged the schedule for who we would each get to work with at Museu do Índio for the next few days.

The day ended with Professors Lima and Kucerova and Natália and Karoline going to a restaurant that served veggie burgers (10/10, highly recommend) before the students got together to continue prepping their work for tomorrow morning.

Day 3 (August 19)

Saturday in Rio: UFRJ-UofT Workshop of undergraduate research on Brazilian languages

(By Natalia Londoño)

After a late night rehearsing their presentations, the three presenters from U of T; Vidhya Elango, Cal Janik-Jones, and Natalia Londoño, were ready to go. The day began at 8 in the morning when we all took (the very impressive) subway to the Museu da República (Museum of the Republic). Once there, we met with the presenters from UFRJ, Fabiana Alencar and Walter Alves. Soon after, the show began!

Cal took the stage first. He talked about V2 languages, and how there are various Brazilian indigenous languages that could fit this category and emphasised the need for more research on this topic. Fabiana was next. Her presentation presented the results of fieldwork conducted by her and her supervisor on loanwords in Kaingang. She told us how they analyzed the proportion of direct loanwords to endogenous creations, and some possible reasons for these results.

Cal presents “Verb Second in Brazil: Raising Questions of Typology and Methodology”


Fabiana Alencar
Fabiana presents “Aspects about typology of lexical amplification in Kaingang”


Natalia’s presentation followed, with a change on topic to numerals. She explained the audience how she analysed numerals in Kawaiwete. Her two-step analysis included a comparison of numerals in Kawaiwete to Kamaiurá, Tapirapé, Guaraní, and Nheengatu. This shed some light on how different strategies of numeral creation can emerge from languages of the same families. The second step was an analysis of Kawaiwete numerals only, this included a work on bases, etymology and numeral creation.


Natalia presents “Numerals in Kawaiwete”

Vidhya’s presentation was about her upcoming fieldwork in Terra Indigena Serra da Lua in Roraima. She will be working with the Macuxi and Wapichana in the perception people have of the languages spoken there. She presented her questionnaire, and addressed how she would deal with the data collected and sort the information gathered.

Vidhya presents “Language Vitality in Macuxi and Wapixana in Terra Indígena Serra da Lua, Roraima”


Last but not least, Walter gave a very charismatic talk about numerals in Guató. He took on the brave task of doing his research on an extinct language, and trying to find out as much as possible about the use of numerals in Guató. From working with the consultors, to trying to find out what mysterious morphemes work, Walter took us on his research adventure and shed light on some very interesting facts about this language.


Walter presents “One, two, three, four: Guató numerals”


Once everybody presented, we were all relieved and ready to eat. We hoped on two taxis and went for lunch to Santa Teresa, an old-fashioned neighbourhood in Rio where we ate Brazilian food. From bobó to tapioca and aguaçu to graviola everybody enjoyed a decadent lunch and bonded over linguistics.


Once we were fed we went up a hill in the same neighbourhood (Santa Teresa) where we enjoyed a view of the city (Parque das Ruínas) and took some group pictures we our Brazilian colleagues.

Tiffany Walter Cal Natalia.JPG


And just like that Saturday went by and it was time to rest and get ready for Sunday 🙂