Launching new school materials to revitalize Apurinã language in Brazilian Amazonia

Apurinã language school materials published as a result of a long collaboration between the Apurinã people, Indigenous organisations, and researchers from the Federal University of Pará, Brazil and the University of Helsinki.

The new Apurinã language books will be launched on January 11th in a virtual event. The three published teaching materials include the first reader book, Iῦkatsupary Apaiaῦkiku: escrevendo em Apurinã!, introducing Apurinã alphabetics, and the conversation teaching materials in Amu Asãkirewata Pupỹkary Sãkire! Vamos falar Apurinã!, which include both the textbook and the exercise book. All materials are available in separate versions for teachers and students to learn to write and speak in Apurinã language. 


The Apurinã are Arawak-speaking people, and most of the population lives in the state of Amazonas in the Purus Basin, Brazil. They number some 10,000 persons, and only one-third speak the Apurinã language. There are language variations between regions (Boca do Acre, Lábrea and Tapauá), and the differences are accounted for in the school materials. 


These materials are the result of a series of workshops organized with Apurinã teachers, students, and elders. The main author of the materials is Raimundo Nonato Apurinã (Txiupyrỹry). The book project has been led by professor of linguistics, Sidney Facundes, from the Federal University of Pará and professor of Indigenous studies Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen from the University of Helsinki, who have both been working with Apurinã people during recent decades. The publications have been funded by the University of Helsinki, the Academy of Finland, the Embassy of Finland in Brazil, and the Finnish Ibero-American Institute.

The book project was initiated by the Apurinã people, and the researchers recognized the Apurinãs’ need to revitalize their language as a primary objective of their research. In a reciprocal and collaborative approach, Apurinã people contributed to the materials: they are among the authors and hold authorship of the drawings. The material not only revitalizes Apurinã language, but also their traditional knowledge.

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Amu Asãkirewata Pupỹkary Sãkire! = Let's speak Apurinã!