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Sat Oct 23 05:56:59 UTC 1999

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							<owner-endangered-languages-l at>
							Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999
							13:56:59 +0800 (WST)
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							From: "Diaz Fernandez"
							<chalimin at>
							endangered-languages-l at
							Subject: ELL: save two
							languages of
							Patagonia, Argentina
							owner-endangered-languages-l at
							Precedence: bulk
							endangered-languages-l at

							Dear Sirs and Ladies
							involved in the rescue
							of minority languages;

							<chalimin at>
							CHALIMIN was a
							Calchaqui hero who
							tried to deliver his
							people from the
							Spanish domination at
							the beginning of the
							XVII century but he
							did not
							succeed. He was caught
							by the Spaniards who
							cut his head off and
							all his limbs were
							chopped off and sent
							to different towns to
							be publicly
							exposed as a token of
							victory over the
							Calchaqui people and
							as a
							threatening warning
							against possible

							My name is Antonio I am
							committed with our
							vernaculars. I
							am a descendent both
							of Spaniards and of
							the Calchaqui people
							whose tongue
							was erased by the
							Spanish conquest,
							remaining unknown
							except for a few
							words which supposedly
							belong to this
							language. I obtained
							my degree as
							"Licenciado en Ingl.s"
							at Universidad
							Nacional de Tucum.n
							Argentina) in
							1985. Presently I am
							working on my thesis
							to be presented to
							the Graduate School of
							Universidad Nacional
							del Sur in the city of
							Blanca (southern
							Argentina) as part of
							the requirements for
							the degree of
							Doctor of Phylosophy.

							I have been working on
							vernacular languages
							of the region I live
							in for
							thirteen years without
							any support. I am
							working out of my
							efforts. The
							Ministry of Education
							of the province of
							Chubut where I live
							does not show
							any commitment with
							the situation of the
							local varieties of the
							language as a
							language. They are not
							interested in
							this language although
							they say it is
							important to do
							it. Both the Governor
							and the minister of
							Education have
							congratulated me about
							my research and
							work on this
							vernacular but they
							have refused to grant
							me any help to carry
							on a research project
							in order to rescue
							this tongue. I am the
							only person
							researching about this
							language in this
							province. I managed to
							publish two
							books on lessons of a
							variety of the Mapuche
							language of Chubut in
							1992 and
							1998 after having
							waited for three years
							with the manuscript in
							each case.

							There is much to be
							done about this
							language yet:
							        a) identify
							and describe all the
							varieties spoken in
							this province
							        b) prepare
							dictionaries of all
							these varieties
							        c) prepare
							lesson books and
							paedagogical material
							        d) record the
							oral literature and
							        e) record
							stories and
							experiences of the
							last spekaers

							The Mapuche language
							in Chubut is dying, it
							has not been
							transmitted to
							generations. Fluent
							speakers are found
							above 65 years old

Besides the urgency to help the Mapuche language in Chubut,  Aonik'o 'a'yin
has to be rescued.  Aonik'o 'a'yin, also known as Tehuelche is the language
of the Aonik'enk people of which there may be six or seven aged persons
still knowing the language.
The few Aonik'enk people still surviving live at about 1,600 km far from my
home in the province of Santa Cruz and a few descendents having a vague
knowledge of this tongue live in SW Chubut. This language is going to
disappear soon. Other Patagonian languages disappeared during the last
decades, such as, Shelknam, and at the beginning of this
century, such as Haush and  Tewshen

Research on this language was carried on by a linguist from the university
of Buenos Aires, who described the language and presented it as a Ph. D.
thesis at Paris. The purpose of this linguist is not to save this language
but to describe it just for pure linguistic purpose. I have had the purpose
of working with Aonik'o 'a'yin to prepare lessons of it similar to the
books I had already prepared for the Chubut Mapuche language. Besides my
college training I am an inborn language learner which is fundamental tool
in this task. I have been looking for support to carry on this urgent and
important task but our authorities are blind to this need.  There is not
much time to save Aonik'o 'a'yin, to say it in an illustrative way it is
11.58 and at 12.00 Aonik'o 'a'yin will die. If actions are carried on this
tongue may be saved otherwise it will have disappeared for ever in "two

I work in a high schools to earn my living to support my family, we are
five people. Although I am really committed with these tongues I cannot
leave my work to devote all the time to rescue these two languages, but
time is absolutely necessary to achieve the goal succesfully. I have given
a proof of my commitment having worked for thirteen years without any
support. How could Aonik'o 'a'yin disappear? How could efforts not be done
at least to save it from dying? I am asking for the possibility of support
to carry on a project to save Aonik'o 'a'yin and the varities of Mapuche
language of Chubut. I would present a project and assure it through a
University contact, for intance, the one where I am working for my thesis.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much.

Yours truly

Lic. Antonio

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