By SHERRI CRUZ / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
A small plane brought Chapman professor Pilar Valenzuela and student Priya Shah to the village that resides along the meandering, 1,000-mile-long Ucayali River in the Peruvian Amazon jungle.
“You land in a little field of grass,” Shah said. “The airport was a piece of metal on top of four poles.
Valenzuela is an expert in the languages of the Shipibo (shih-pee-boe) and Shiwilu (shih-wee-loo) people of the area. Shah and other Chapman students went with her on one of her many work and research trips to Peru to help her document the Shiwilu language.
While Shipibo is still spoken, learned and passed on to children, Shiwilu is on the verge of extinction.