The languages documented within this project are part of the Baure language group (see figure) of Bolivian Amazonia. Baure belongs to the Southern branch of the Arawakan language family, together with the neighbouring Moxo languages Trinitario and Ignaciano and Paunaka. The Baure language group consists of the severely endangered Baure (with 54 speakers and semi-speakers according to our census of 2009, the critically endangered Carmelito (with 4 speakers in 2012), and the already extinct Joaquiniano (with approximately 6 semi-speakers or rememberers) (cf. Krauss 2007:6 for classification of degree of language endangerment). Baure and Carmelito are mutually intelligible and can be considered to be dialects, but Joaquiniano is considerably different and rather similar to historical Baure (1700s).
Baure is mainly spoken by elderly people, Spanish being the dominant language in the region. However, there have been several attempts to develop a revitalization program. Language classes in school are rudimentary but have lately been improved by new teaching materials, and the Baure documentation team started evening classes for youngsters and children in 2008 with great success.
South- and South-Western Arawakan
Baure language group
Pauna language group
Moxo language group
? (†)Loretano (bol)
? †Javierano (bol)
? †Muchojeone (bol)
Campa subgroup (per)
Piro (per / bra)
Machineri (bol / bra)
Figure: South- and South-Western Arawakan languages (our proposal)
(† indicates (almost) extinct, ! indicates endangered)
Krauss, Michael. 2007. Classification and terminology for degrees of language endangerment. Language Diversity Endangered, ed. Matthias Brenzinger, pp. 1-8. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Baures: Workshop on the translation of the Libreta Escolar (school report) into Baure, 2009
El Carmen: Two Carmelito speakers, 2010
San Joaquín: Work with one of the last semi-speakers of Joaquiniano, 2009
Speaker census in Baures, carried out by the DobeS team, 2009