Dr. Gustavo Solis Fonseca is a professor at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and at the Center for Research and Applied Linguistics in Lima, Peru. He will also be speaking during NYU’s Quechua Week – December 13-17.
Dr. Solis holds both a PhD and M.A in Linguistics, specializing in Amerindian languages. Dr. Solis has been the director of the Center for Research in Applied Linguistics (CILA) at the UNMSM for several years. He has also twice been the recipient of the Medal of Scientific Merit from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
Dr. Solis is one of the leading scholars and researchers in the area of Amazonian & Andean languages. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing on diverse fields including general and theoretical linguistics, macro- and micro-sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, linguistic anthropology, education, ethnography of communication, language contact phenomena, working with extinct languages, language policy & planning, language revitalization, politics and history. He began his work in the Amazonian region while researching two Amazonian languages: the Machiguenga and the Arawak in the MANU National Park, where he lived among the Machiguenga learning their language. In 2001, he became the Coordinator of Graduate Programs at PROEIB Andes in Bolivia.
Dr. Solis has been instrumental in helping to establish bilingual indigenous programs at the Universidad de la Amazonia and in implementing and conceptualizing educational reforms in conjunction with bilingual educators in regions throughout Peru, such as the “Quechua for All” program in the Apurimac region. He has also been influential in establishing and advancing programs to conduct research in anthroponymy, the study of names, in the Amazon and in the Andes, including with the publishing his book La gente pasa, los nombres quedan: introducción en la toponimia.
Although Dr. Solis keeps a low profile, his work in terms of language ideology and the spread of sociolinguistic views of the problem of Peru’s highly diglossic status is quite evident. Not only as a faculty member at Universidad San Marcos working with students but also by shaping and preparing general educational curriculum for bilingual education programs and educational reforms throughout the Andes and the Amazon regions. His work in the area of interculturality and intercultural education has been key to South American educators’ work with bilingual indigenous populations.
He has published various books: Lenguas en la Amazonía Peruana (2003), Lenguas Vivas Introducción a la Morfología (2004) , Cuestiones de lingüística general, hispánica y aplicada (2004), Introducción en la Toponimia (1989), Todas las lenguas del Perú (forthcoming) etc. He has also been the author of numerous articles on linguistics and Peruvian native languages. One of his greatest contributions is the design of the official ethno-linguistic maps of Peru. (Map & booklet) (1987, 2003). His maps are used widely throughout the world to identify Amerindian languages and populations that otherwise might be omitted from the panorama of languages of the world. This work toward the inclusion of Amerindian languages and populations is in fact one of his main legacies.
Recently he was called to be one of 30 world specialists who participated in the Report of UNESCO on the state of the languages of the World (2008); additionally he is an author of the section corresponding to the Peruvian Amazon languages that appears in the Sociolinguistic Atlas of Latin America (2009), an important publication of Latin-America promoted by UNICEF and instrumental for decision making in matters relating to linguistic policy in Latin American countries.
Information gathered from archives by Miryam Yataco, faculty member at The Department of Teaching and Learning, Multilingual Multicultural Education Program, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University.