Creating resources in and for San Francisco del Mar Huave, a near-dormant language
Dr Yuni Kim (University of Essex)
The Huaves are a marginalised ethnic group occupying four villages – each with its own variety of the Indigenous language, which is an isolate – on the Pacific coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca State, Mexico. In San Francisco del Mar, L1 acquisition of Huave (aka Umbeyajts) decreased sharply between about birth years 1925 and 1945, so current community initiatives are geared toward L2 learners, as active use of Umbeyajts has long been minimal. From the perspective of documentary linguistics, I will reflect on the complex process of curating my fieldnotes and recordings (collected between 2004 and 2013) to convert them into a useful and usable “multi-purpose” archival collection. The contributions of linguistically oriented elicitation data, ethnographic narratives/interviews, and informal everyday conversation will be considered, and I will show booklets, social media posts, etc. derived from the various genres of primary data. In the context of rapid societal change and threats to the natural environment, the concretisation of oral histories and literatures in Umbeyajts relating to the traditional fishing-based lifestyle, diet, material culture, and economy (as well as on topics like illness and healing, celebration of local festivals, etc.) also seems to take on particular importance, even if not immediately useful for language learning.