DOBES Archive for the Aché Language

Welcome to the Archive of the Aché Language ! 

Pasar a la versión española ...

This archive is currently under construction. It already contains a set of over 250 audio- and video-recordingsin the Aché language, many of them transcribed and translated, carriedout under the auspices of the Aché Documentation Project (ADOP), partof the DOBES-program. Further material is in preparation.In addition, the archive will contain recordings, written materials,linguistic descriptions, ethnographic accounts, and photographs thathave been donated by other people who are or have been working with theAché. A bibliography of published materials about the Aché will also beincluded.

The documentation project

The Aché Documentation Project (ADOP) started in November 2008 as part of the DOBES endangered languages program. Its purpose is the extensive documentation of the Aché language. The project is designed to systematically record, describe, and archive language and cultural data and to investigate it from ethnolinguistic and anthropological points of view. The Aché language is in urgent need of documentation as the number of speakers is very small, intergenerational transmission is interrupted, and the socio-cultural conditions continue to rapidly change. For more information about the Aché and the Aché language, consult the project website.The documentation team consists of linguist Eva-Maria Rößler (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil), linguistic anthropologist Jan David Hauck (University of California, Los Angeles), and social anthropologist Warren Thompson (University of New Mexico). The project is hosted at the Institut für vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität of Frankfurt under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jost Gippert and Dr. Sebastian Drude.

The structure of the archive and how to use it

The data in the Aché corpus is accessible in the IMDI-Browser in two ways: through the browse panel in the left frame or through a metadata search. The corpus is divided into two substantive parts: Documentation, containing primary materials in the Aché language, and Studies, containing studies about the Aché and their language. The materials are organized by sessions, which are bundles of audio- and/or video-recordings with their respective annotations (i.e., transcriptions and translations of recordings), written material, or photographs. The directory tree in the browse panel represents the sessions with the bundle-icon ()while the nodes that have subdirectories are represented with the corpus-icon (). A node that has child elements has additionally a switch-icon. When the switch is in the closed position () you are unable to view the child elements. Clicking on the switch turns it into the open position ()and reveals the child elements of the node. For session nodes this shows the resource files (i.e., audio- or video-recordings, annotations, photographs, etc.).Each session contains information about the corresponding resource files. This information is called metadata. A click on the bundle-icon reveals the metadata in the right frame. For more information you can download Quick Guides to archive browsingand to the metadata search, or alternatively the manual of the IMDI-browser.Each session of the Aché corpus can be accessed in the corpus structure through multiple branches of the directory tree. The three main branches of the Documentation are:

the data is organized according to the subgroup/dialect of the speaker.
the data is organized according to the community where it was recorded.
The 'Lifeworld':
the data is organized according to Aché social experience and practice.

Each of these branches reflects a particular usethat we have envisioned for the archive. The first branch,classification according to variety,refers to the particular subgroup and dialect of the speaker. The Achéwere traditionally hunter-gatherers, living in small nomadic foragingbands in the Atlantic coastal forests of Eastern Paraguay. Groups ofallied, endogamous bands we have designated subgroups. Because thesesubgroups did not have peaceful relationships with each other, therewas little linguistic or cultural transmission between them, thusforming the central linguistic and cultural divisions within Achésociety. We have also chosen to group sessions by the communitiesin which they were recorded. Again, this category corresponds to arelevant historical reality. Rapid deforestation, contact-relateddisease, and attacks from Paraguayan colonists forced most subgroupsinto reservations during the 1960s and 70s. Today most Aché live in sixcommunities spread over Eastern Paraguay. Even though dialect andimportant cultural practices differ on the basis of subgroup, thesedifferences have somewhat “flattened” by the settling of multiplesubgroups within a single community. We have organized the corpusstructure to reflect this historical linguistic and socio-politicalchange. We suspect that the Aché themselves will find classification bycommunity as the most useful to search for sessions, given that as timegoes on and more and more people from different subgroups intermarry,fewer younger people will remember what subgroup their ancestors camefrom. The third branch of documentation is classification by what we call the 'lifeworld,'the meaningful lived world of everyday life. Here we are attempting toprovide, as much as we are able, a representative enumeration ofcentral socio-cultural phenomena. This branch allows anthropologists toeasily compare the individual variations of ritual song and myth, forexample, as well as giving visitors to the archive a general feel forAché meaning and practice. 

Access, authorship, and copyrights

The access to the metadata (the information about the deposited resources) is open. However, the access to most of the resources themselves, i.e., the recordings and annotations, picture and written material, is restricted. If you are interested in viewing or downloading material of the Aché archive, you will have to register and sign the DOBES Code of Conduct. You can request access to a resource by filling out the usage request form. When access is granted you will have to sign a usage declaration. Please also consult the Access instructions and read theEthical and legal documents. Every request to access data will be considered. Please feel free to contact the ADOP team for further information.The authors of the primary data of the recordings in the archive are the respective speakers or performers, as specified in the metadata for each session. The material from the documentation project has been compiled by the ADOP team (Rößler, Hauck, and Thompson). In accordance with the DOBES Code of Conductno one is allowed to use the recorded and analyzed data for commercial purposes without permission from the speech community. It is the latter that decides all aspects involved in the commercial use (copyrights, sharing profits, etc.). When quoting from material contained in this corpus in a publication, please give the following reference as your source: Eva-Maria Rößler, Jan David Hauck, and Warren Thompson (eds.) (2008-present). Multimedia Documentation of the Aché language. DOBES-Archive. Nijmegen: Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics.<>


This archive has been created by the documentation team together with the Aché communities of Eastern Paraguay. The Aché speech community agreed to deposit their linguistic and cultural heritage in this archive. The innumerable hours of work spent by the Aché transcribing, annotating, and translating the recordings attest to the importance that the preservation of their linguistic traditions and cultural knowledge has to the communities. The documentation team is happy to be able to contribute to this task and grateful to those diligent individuals with whom we have the privilege of working. We would like to especially thank the narrators and singers of traditional songs and stories and their own recollections, many of them too old to be able to witness the completion of the archive and what will become of their contributions. The documentation team would also like to thank Prof. Dr. Jost Gippert and Dr. Sebastian Drude and the staff of the Goethe Universität, especially Peter Sauer, for their support and advice. The archive welcomes all further materials related to the Aché language and culture. If you are in possession of relevant materials and want to make a donation please contact the documentation team or the archive manager. The Aché communities would appreciate it. Please also visit the project's website. (last updated: 10/05/2012)