The Bororo language is spoken by the Bororo people, who refer to themselves as Boe ‘people, thing’ or Boe Bororo.
Bororo means ‘patio’, Boe Bororo ‘people of the patio’, that is, the round area located in the middle of the village, to the west of the central house, that laid in the middle of the village in a north-south position divides the village in east and west, where the two exogamous moieties live. They inhabit six discontinuous Indigenous lands in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil (shown in the map below).
There are about 3000 ethnic Bororos and about half speak the language, which is not being transmitted to younger generations in some of the indigenous lands.
As a consequence the number of speakers is decaying. All Bororos are speakers of Portuguese at the native level. Variations in speech exist among the villages, but these are very subtle and do not cause intelligibility issues. Bororo is being taught in schools, but the amount of hours dedicated to the language is far from enough. Speakers of the languages in some villages, such as Meruri, almost don’t use the language anymore, so that younger people cannot practice what they learn in school. Many early teenagers in this Indigenous land (Meruri) have never heard a conversation in the language.
The primary objective of this course is to provide essential support to village schools in their efforts to educate Bororo children in literacy using digital tools. Through this course, we aim to:
Preserve the Language: Ensure the continued use and preservation of the Bororo language among the younger generation.
Promote Literacy: Foster literacy skills among Bororo children, empowering them to read and write in their native language.
Índios Xingu, Brazil
“A man will be chosen to represent the deceased. Adorned all over, his body is completely covered with feathers and paintings; on the head he carries an enormous feathery headdress and a visor made of yellow feathers covers his face. In the village court it is no longer a man who dances but rather the aroemaiwu, literally the new soul who, with its movements, presents itself to the world of the living.”
- Sylvia Caiuby Novaes
This course was created and designed by Lorena Martín as part of the 2023 Fellowship program. She has a MA in Computational Linguistics from University of Tübingen. For the past 3 years, Lorena has worked with Indigenous communities in Canada and Brazil to develop resources for the documentation and revitalization of their languages.
Dr. Fabrício Gerardi (University of Tübingen) was a key contributor to this course as the community linguist of Bororo. He provided valuable advice and materials for the course and helped ensure the accuracy of the course materials.
The Bororo community itself has been instrumental in this project by providing spoken materials, sharing their language and culture, and ensuring the authenticity of the materials