Published March 20, 2018
This video was recorded by Daniel Bogre Udell in Cusco, Peru, where he and Sonia were visiting for the Tinkuy textiles festival, organized by the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco. Booráá, more commonly spelled Bora and also known as Meamuyna, is spoken by as many as 2,400 people, primarily in the Amazonian regions of Peru and Colombia. Though their language was traditionally unwritten, Booráá speakers have developed a writing system in recent decades, with the assistance of foreign translators. Today, textbooks and Booráá-Spanish dictionaries are available, with literacy rates as high as 30% in some communities. Together with the Muinane language, Booráá forms a small linguistic family, the so-called ‘Boran languages’, which are linguistically unique among their regional neighbors in that they are tonal; that is, changes in pitch alter the lexical or grammatical meaning of words.