About This Project:
Who Produced Sounds
of the Andean Languages? And Why?
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About Us: Who Produced Sounds of the Andean Languages?
• Sounds of the Andean Languages was produced by Dr Paul Heggarty from the uk, who is a researcher in comparative and historical linguistics and in the languages of the Andes, particularly Quechua. He travelled throughout the Andes to collect and record the data from native speakers of each regional variety of Quechua and Aymara covered so far, analysed all the data and recordings, designed the cd‑rom and website, and wrote all these texts. He dedicates this project to his ideal travelling companion during the fieldwork, Céline Lardenois. To contact him, you can find an up-to-date email address for him from his main Quechua website: www.quechua.org.uk.
• The translation into Spanish is by the Peruvian linguists Dante Oliva León, and Marco Aurelio Ferrell Ramírez, who also specialise in Andean languages; Dante Oliva edited most of the sound files too.
• The translations of the welcome page into various Andean languages were by established mother-tongue translators in the Andean countries themselves (see each translation page for details about them).
Where and Who Do Our Recordings Come From?
Our recordings are of native-speakers of Quechua from fifteen different regions throughout Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, and of Aymara in five more areas in Peru and Bolivia; all were duly paid for their time and help – see below. You can see photos of all of these people in our page on their particular Quechua or Aymara-speaking region, together with views of their home villages and local landscapes. In many cases there are also photos of friends and family of theirs who also helped us with our data-collection.
It is of course impossible to make any recordings of Original Quechua and Original Aymara as they were spoken so many centuries ago, because these languages have changed a great deal in all regions, so that no one region still pronounces all words in their original forms. Nonetheless, by comparing all the various modern pronunciations from region to region, linguists are at least able to work out how each word was probably pronounced in Original Quechua and Original Aymara too. So in order to include the pronunciations in Original Quechua and Original Aymara in our comparison tables, for each individual word we have copied the recording from any region in which that particular word still happens to be pronounced today in the same way as it was in the Original language. There are some words, though, that have changed in all regions and so are now no longer pronounced in the original way anywhere; for these words we have recorded the Original pronunciation as spoken by Paul Heggarty, the linguist who produced Sounds of the Andean Languages.
Can I Copy This CD‑Rom, and Show It Publicly?
Yes, you may copy this cd‑rom and website, and show them publicly. Please feel free to: this is exactly what this project is for. The whole point is ‘dissemination’, i.e. to make knowledge about the Andean languages available as freely and as widely as possible, particularly to native speakers of those languages themselves.
But … copies of this cd‑rom must not be sold! The only money that should change hands is to cover the cost of materials for copying the cd‑rom, i.e. no more than US$1, 3.50 soles, or 7 bolivianos (plus any postal costs involved). If you paid any more than this for a copy, please let us know.
We will send free copies of this cd‑rom to any relevant institutions throughout the Andean countries, and plan also to distribute it in Peru through the cbc (Centro Bartolomé de las Casas, www.cbc.org.pe), in Bolivia through Los Amigos del Libro, and in Ecuador through Abya-Yala (www.abyayala.org).
Who and What is This Project For?
Sounds of the Andean Languages is a scientific research project, specifically in the science of language, i.e. linguistics. It is actually just a small part of a more general and wider research project in linguistics, based at the public universities of Sheffield and then Edinburgh [Finish Off] in the uk. This wider research project looked into how we can make use of data about languages to find out more about the origins and history of the peoples who spoke those languages in the past.
The details of how this can be done are fairly technical, and are intended for specialists in linguistics, history, archaeology, and so on. Our first main findings on Andean languages were published in the lead article in Revista Andina (issue 40), called Enigmas in the origins of the Andean languages: Applying new techniques to the unanswered questions. A further article based on the sound recording data in Sounds of the Andean Languages should appear in 2006 or 2007.
The funding for our research project also includes, however, a small budget to make our findings more accessible to and more valuable for the people most concerned who are not specialists. Sounds of the Andean Languages, then, is intended to contribute something from our research that is of direct interest and value to the speakers of those languages today. It aims to allow speakers of Quechua and Aymara languages to explore and hear how people in other regions and countries pronounce their common language, so that they can experience and understand more of both the unity and the diversity of all the different forms of their languages spoken all over the Andes. In turn, this can help explain much about how those languages developed through history, and where they first came from – hence our sections on the diversity and origins of Quechua and Aymara.
The one long-running dispute that has most undermined attempts over recent decades to raise the prestige of the indigenous languages of the Andes has been about how they should be written. On this issue, our research into regional variations in the pronunciation in these languages can help clear up certain common misunderstandings, and show the logic behind the official standard spellings that are proposed for Quechua and Aymara. These are intended to give the languages a more unified written form, while always respecting regional differences in pronunciation. This is why Sounds of the Andean Languages also includes its spelling section.
How Come This CD-Rom is Free?
The Andean languages have had an unhappy history in recent centuries, and even today their status remains delicate in many parts of the Andes. After all that has been said and argued about the Andean languages from different sides, it may even strike some people as suspicious that our cd‑rom is distributed free.
The International Quechua Conference held in Cochabamba in 2002, for example, opened with the then president of the Cuzco Quechua Academy famously delivering a speech railing against linguists, anthropologists, multinationals (?!), missionaries and foreigners all ‘meddling’ in Quechua, with the veiled intent of destroying it… His ideas were little short of the paranoid and xenophobic, but such excesses aside it is true that certain organisations have not always been honest in explaining their motives and funding. It is important, then, that we should be very clear about ours here.
• Firstly, this project is nothing at all to do with missionary work of any sort, or with any religious beliefs (the two researchers involved have none in any case). It is purely a linguistics research project: it has no funding from, and no connection with, any religious organisation. Specifically, it is not connected either with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (sil, or ilv in Spanish) or with its associated Ethnologue. These are missionary-inspired organisations, even though – rather suspiciously for many people – they seem anxious to keep this fact as quiet as possible, presumably because they would rather that people do not realise this at first. Their primary goal is just to translate the bible into as many of the languages of the world as possible. It is indicative of how much true interest the sil really has in linguistics and Quechua that now that it feels that its translation task has been achieved for Peru, it has recently seems to have closed down its branch in Peru and left.
• Secondly, this project has nothing to do with any company of any sort, neither national or multinational. Some university technological research is paid for by private companies, but in linguistics, and certainly in the comparative linguistics of the Andean languages, there is very little scope for anyone to make any money! No companies are involved at all in this project, nor does anyone working on it want them to be.
• Thirdly, our project is also not an international co-operation or aid project, and is not connected with any non-governmental organisation (ngo). Two of the researchers have been associated with one very small ngo involved with the Jaqaru culture and language, Jaqmashi (www.quechua.org.uk/Jaqmashi), but Sounds of the Andean Languages has nothing to do with Jaqmashi itself and is not funded by Jaqmashi.
Who Paid for Sounds of the Andean Languages? Why?
In most Western countries like the uk, university research like this is funded by organisations called research funding bodies. Sounds of the Andean Languages is funded by one of these, namely the uk’s Arts and Humanities Research Board (ahrb), which is part of the public university system and is independent from the government.
The decision to fund Sounds of the Andean Languages was made by university researchers, and was based not on politics in any way, but only on what is recognised as worthwhile research. It was recognised that our aims of helping promote knowledge and understanding of the Andean languages were worthy of support. Anyone who looks into the Andean languages will discover how they are just as rich, flexible and fascinating as any other language such as those of Europe.
In particular, many people consider it especially important to try to document languages that are in danger of dying out, to preserve for posterity these languages that form such an important part of humanity’s cultural wealth and diversity. This applies to a number of the language varieties we have deliberately chosen to include in Sounds of the Andean Languages, and this may well have contributed to the decision to fund this project. Increasing human knowledge – not making money – is the mission of public universities in the uk, just as it is in most countries around the world.
The money for this research, then, was originally provided by the State in the uk, which means that it comes ultimately from British taxpayers. The government simply donates it to a research funding body, however, and no politician or official plays any part in deciding which research projects deserve to be funded and which do not. The government needs to pay its university lecturers and researchers anyway; and it is concerned that the uk should have successful national universities that are well thought of in the world for carrying out high-quality and useful research. Beyond that, nobody in any government knows anything much about this research! It is certainly nothing to do with the uk Foreign Office or with official relations between the uk and the Andean countries.
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Is Anyone Making Money from This Project?
It is simple then: no company, no church, no government, no ngo, no individual, nobody is making any profit from Sounds of the Andean Languages.
Of course, all of the people who produced it were duly paid, but only a normal rate for their work and time, just as in any job. (The rates of pay are decided by the funding body, and there are strict rules on how much pay can be: the basic rules are simply that people are paid a reasonable rate of pay for the country in which they live and work, and that the more highly qualified the job, the better paid it is.)
• The contributors whose voices you hear were paid for the hours of their time that it took for us to collect our data and make our recordings.
• A Peruvian linguist and translator was paid for a month’s professional work translating all the pages into Spanish. Likewise, translators of the welcome page into Andean languages were also duly paid.
• The main researcher was paid only his normal salary as a university lecturer and researcher in the uk, for the many months that it took him to collect, analyse and process all this data to create Sounds of the Andean Languages. He is not paid because he studies Quechua and Aymara. He does not ‘earn money’ from those languages or the people who speak them. He earns nothing from publishing his articles in any publication, such as Revista Andina – no authors are paid for such work!
Our researcher does not study the languages of the Andes in order to ‘make money’ from the people who speak them. Absolutely on the contrary: he chose this subject simply because it is one that fascinates him, about a people, a culture and a part of the world that he loves. He chose it, too, because he knows from his own family history what it is like to lose part of one’s identity by losing one’s ancestors’ language (in his case, Irish). He hopes that the children and grandchildren of people in the Andes today can avoid the same fate themselves. In short, he hopes that Sounds of the Andean Languages will ultimately help them, at least in some very small way, to hold on to their own distinctive culture, identity and language – if that is their wish.
Besides pay for people, the funding for this project was also used to pay the costs of the university’s recording and computing equipment needed to produce the website and cd‑roms. This is why the cd‑rom can be distributed free of charge to all those people involved and to other interested organisations. The funds also paid for the costs of travel for the researcher, by local public transport, to reach all of the twenty different villages throughout the Andes where the recordings were made.