Training speakers of indigenous languages of Latin America at a US university


  • Anthony C. Woodbury
  • Nora C. England


In this paper we describe our experiences training speakers of indigenous languages of Latin America in documentary linguistics at a major US university. We feel that it has had and will have benefits for community language preservation efforts, for documentary linguistics, for linguistics more generally, and for our university. We hope here to make this case; and we hope it will encourage those in other universities contemplating such a programme for themselves in a way that suits their own interests, needs, and world position.

In autumn 1998, the University of Texas (UT) announced a major initiative to increase its already considerable commitment to Latin American studies. A group of staff in the Linguistics, Anthropology, Spanish and Portuguese and Art History departments – Joel Sherzer, Madeline Sutherland, Charles Hale, Nicolas Shumway, Nikolai Grube, Tony Woodbury, and others – responded by proposing the creation of a Centre for Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA). CILLA’s purpose was to be both research and teaching, with a special commitment to bringing members of indigenous communities to UT as postgraduate students. We intended to do this by building on our existing strengths in linguistics, anthropology, and Latin American studies, and, within these disciplines, in documentary...


documentary linguisticstrainingindigenous language speakersLatin AmericaUS universitybenefitsUniversity of TexasCentre for Indigenous Languages of Latin AmericaCILLA
  • Year: 2004
  • Volume: 2
  • Page/Article: 122-139
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd295
  • Published on 31 Jul 2014