Because my current work in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the NGO, Fundacion Runa, involves interacting on a daily basis with Kichwa speaking communities, it is essential for me to be able to communicate and form relationships with the Kichwa people in their native tongue. Thus, my primary objective in this class is to gain a very basic level of proficiency in the Kichwa dialect within the following areas; speaking, writing/reading/grammar, and listening. Beginning to learn the Kichwa language will also help to capacitate me in learning more about the Kichwa culture, including cultural traditions, myths, jokes, art forms, medicinal plants, among a host of other things. Also, I simply want to take advantage of this unique opportunity to start learning the Kichwa dialect, a language that is intimately connected to the people, sounds, and life forms of the Amazon jungles of central Ecuador.
1. Speaking: I want to learn how to say greetings, common sayings, food and medicinal plant names, as well as have basic vocabulary of general Kichwa words.
2. Writing/ Reading/Grammar: My goals are to a achieve a basic grasp of Kichwa spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and writing.
3. Listening – I aim to be able to understand the general gist of conversations of native Kichwa Speakers
4. I intend to have a variety of interactive experiences with Kichwa people over the course of the semester.
For the completion of my objectives itemized from 1-3, I have arranged to have 4 hrs of class time per week with a local Kichwa professor, Cesar Cerda, in Puyo, Ecuador. Below is each activity outlined in further depth as well as a general division of in class time (2hrs). Although each activity of speaking, writing, reading, and listening are innately connected to one another, the time divisions of the class denote the general amount of focused time spent on each area. Also, detailed below is a list of out of class activities as well as possible projects to be initiated during the class.
In class time:
1. Speaking (1 hr): Pronunciation, repetition out loud of vocabulary, studying basic greetings, practicing elementary conversations. Possible trips to the markets would be a good place to speak.
2. Writing/ Reading/Grammar (40): There will be general practice of sentence formation, verb conjugation, tenses, as well as other grammatical structures of Kichwa. Reading general texts in Kichwa, children’s books, among other books.
3. Listening (20min): Class time will be focused on Audio recordings of Kichwa that I take out in the field during my class on Kichwa Ceramics.
Homework and Out of Class Time
1. Daily interactions with Runa’s Kichwa speaking work crew at the Fatima Investigation Center will serve as a continual practice grounds for practicing Kichwa
2. Monthly meetings with anthropologist and fluent Kichwa speaker, on the pragmatic and symbolic meanings of words and phrases in the Kichwa language. Video recordings about Kichwa language as it relates to myths, culture, ceramics, and traditions
3. I will make weekly visits to indigenous Kichwa communities for a variety of reasons related to work with Fundacion Runa as well as other fall semester classes. In communities I will practice my Kichwa to the best of my abilities
4. Completion and revisions of assigned homework.
5. 3-6 page research paper on the Kichwa language
1. Along with my own fluent English skills and descent spanish, I hope to work with a bi-lingual Kichwa and Spanish speaker to finish the translation a local children’s book in Spanish, English, and Kichwa. It may be a project that I work on with my professor.
2. Laminated Plant identification cards in English, Spanish, and Kichwa for new plant species planted in my Agro-forestry course.
3. Sound recordings of Kichwa songs.