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 (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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And just like that Saturday went by and it was time to rest and get ready for Sunday 🙂
Day 2 (by Tiffany Gelvez)
First day of fieldwork!
Today was the first day of real work with speakers of Baniwa, Neenghatu, Guarani Ñandeva, and Marubo. The day started by taking the subway to go to Museu Do Índio. It was a new experience for the students and the ride was quite enjoyable as the subway stations were clean, colorful, and spacious. A great highlight from the subway experience was the music played by the ticket machine after our prepaid cards were purchased. It certainly added excitement to the commute, since it is not everyday one can hear pleasant music after buying subway tickets!
Upon arriving at Museu Do Índio, the students were excited to see the inside appearance of the establishment. The main office was built similarly to a Guarani house, which contrasted very beautifully with the outside buildings neighboring the museum.
The students had the opportunity work with Sandra, Francy and Nelly who kindly helped the students become comfortable with their work. The work session went smoothly, students followed Lima and Kucerova’s questionnaires in order to start the data gathering process. After the morning session, everybody had lunch together in a typical Brazilian buffet before getting back to work at 2pm. The work day ended at 4pm, and then the students headed to a bohemian bookstore close to the museum where they learned about Brazilian literature.
The day ended with a group dinner cooked by everyone. Professor Lima made some delicious tapioca (also known as beiju) with different toppings; including Brazilian fresh cheese, avocados, steak, and glazed onions. The students and Professor Kucerova helped with the cutting of vegetables, organizing of the table and after-dinner cleanup. Day two was a day of hard work but amazing rewarding experiences.