Mocoví Language and Society

Page Index

The content of this page was developed from the research of
Dr. Verónica Grondona.


In the mid-1940s the first formal elementary school was founded in the Mocoví community of Colonia El Pastoril, one of the largest Mocoví communities in the Southern Chaco. The teachers were monolingual Spanish speakers, with no previous contact with Mocoví; most of the Mocoví children and adults did not speak Spanish, and had previously had little or no contact with Spanish speakers.

The school still operates today, and the teachers are still native speakers of Spanish who do not speak Mocoví. Lessons are taught in Spanish to a largely non-Spanish-speaking population of students. The children have learned Mocoví as their first language at home, and Spanish is taught in school as a second language. However, most of the children do not finish elementary school.

There have been attempts to teach Spanish reading and writing to adult women, but these efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

Spanish influence

Today, it is the men who have the most contact with Spanish speakers, as they sometimes leave the geographical boundaries of the community to buy supplies and to find work when there is none nearby. Most households own a radio, the programs broadcast in Spanish. A few households have television sets that receive Spanish programming also.

The level of bilingualism within the Mocoví community varies from a high proficiency in Spanish (chiefly among men 25-50 years old), to no knowledge of Spanish (primarily older adults, of which most are women; and children of 5 years or younger).

Mocoví is not a written language. However, in the 1950s a group of missionaries developed a writing system for Toba which was later extended for use with Mocoví. This system is based on the writing system for Spanish. The only known written text in Mocoví is a bible translated by Alberto Buckwater.

Follow the digitization path of the Mocoví data

  1. Get Started Summary of Mocoví conversion
  2. Present Text: Stylesheets page (Classroom)
  3. Store Text: XML page (Classroom)
  4. Encode Text: Unicode page (Classroom)
  5. Implement Audio: Audio page (Classroom)
  6. Implement Video: Video page (Classroom)

User Contributed Notes
E-MELD School of Best Practices: Mocoví Language and Society
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