Linguistics South American Indian Languages
by
Willem F. H. Adelaar
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0040

Introduction

With more than a hundred linguistic lineages and a considerable amount of typological variation, South America is among the most complex linguistic areas on earth. Its languages continue to provide linguistic typology with a wealth of hitherto unrecorded phenomena. Meanwhile, our understanding of the historical relations between these languages, whether phylogenetic or contact based, is still rudimentary. Due to conquest and massive foreign immigration, the South American languages have become socially and numerically marginalized. Most of them are heavily endangered or on the verge of extinction. Nevertheless, some of the South American languages were among the first to receive a focused attention from grammar and language students during the colonial rule of the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, particularly during the 16th and 17th centuries. These premodern grammarians developed innovative insights in relation to lexical semantics and the meaning of grammatical categories, some of which have percolated into modern linguistics. After a long period of neglect, the study of South American languages has made a remarkable comeback and now occupies a distinct position on the scene of modern linguistic research. This contribution has become indispensable for the recognition of unique typological distinctions and language contact phenomena, for the study of languages in precarious situations of survival, and for the further development of methods of linguistic documentation and description. Although the literature on South American Indian languages in English is growing, it is impossible to obtain a balanced view of the literature dealing with this linguistic area without a thorough reading knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese. Consequently, many of the titles cited in this article are in these languages.

Surveys

The books cited in this section are handbook-style introductions to the languages of the area with a discussion of some of the characteristics of the languages under consideration. They have the intention to present the different indigenous languages spoken in South America as a whole (Campbell and Grondona 2012) or in important subareas of the subcontinent (Adelaar and Muysken 2004, Aikhenvald 2012, Dixon and Aikhenvald 1999). They can serve as introductions to a more focused study of linguistic themes related to those areas. The other surveys mentioned here are relevant to one particular country (Crevels and Muysken 2009, González de Pérez and Rodríguez de Montes 2000, Mosonyi and Mosonyi 2000, Rodrigues 1986).

  • Adelaar, Willem F. H., and Pieter C. Muysken. 2004. The languages of the Andes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486852Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of the languages spoken in the western part of South America (Andes, Pacific coast, and eastern Andean slopes) presenting their main characteristics (phonology, grammatical structure, etc.) as well as historical and sociolinguistic information. The organization is by area and by language or language family.

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    • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2012. The languages of the Amazon. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593569.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      A state-of the-art overview of the principal themes relating to the languages of the Amazon region. This new book is of exceptional significance for research in typological linguistics based on data from one of the most linguistically varied areas of the world.

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      • Campbell, Lyle, and Verónica Grondona, eds. 2012. The indigenous languages of South America: A comprehensive guide. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

        DOI: 10.1515/9783110258035Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A comprehensive handbook covering all of South America. It contains informative chapters on different topics such as classification and typology, linguistic areas, and a selection of language families.

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        • Crevels, Emily, and Pieter C. Muysken, eds. 2009. Lenguas de Bolivia. Vol. 1, Ámbito andino. La Paz, Bolivia: Plenum Editores.

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          This is the first volume in an ambitious publication project featuring sketch grammars of most of the languages spoken in Bolivia today and in the past. It contains chapters on languages located in or near the Andean highlands of Bolivia.

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          • Dixon, Robert M. W., and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds. 1999. The Amazonian languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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            A very useful overview of the languages spoken in the Amazonian part of South America, organized by phylogenetic groupings and geographical subareas.

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            • González de Pérez, María Stella, and María Luisa Rodríguez de Montes. 2000. Lenguas indígenas de Colombia: Una visión descriptiva. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

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              A beautifully edited and most informative volume on the indigenous languages of Colombia with language sketches, sociolinguistic essays, and detailed maps of the geographical areas in which these languages are spoken.

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              • Mosonyi, Esteban Emilio, and Jorge Carlos Mosonyi. 2000. Manual de lenguas indígenas de Venezuela. 2 vols. Caracas, Venezuela: Fundación Bigott.

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                A useful handbook with detailed sketches of a selection of indigenous languages spoken in Venezuela.

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                • Rodrigues, Aryon Dall’Igna. 1986. Línguas brasileiras: Para o conhecimento das líguas indígenas. São Paulo, Brazil: Edições Loyola.

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                  A concise overview of the indigenous languages spoken in Brazil, organized by language families with examples of cognates.

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                  Bibliographies

                  There are several bibliographical resources for the study of South American Indian languages. At least one of them (Fabre 1988) deserves a special mention.

                  • Fabre, Alain. 1998. Manual de las lenguas indígenas sudamericanas. 2 vols. Munich and Newcastle, UK: LINCOM Europa.

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                    A particularly useful and exhaustive resource, which is regularly updated.

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                    Grammars

                    Grammars and grammatical descriptions constitute the fundamental source for understanding the essence of South American Indian languages. This article makes a distinction between modern grammatical descriptions (20th and 21st centuries) and missionary grammars written before the independence of the Latin American nations around 1810. Some modern grammars also have a normative character. They are presented in a separate subsection.

                    Missionary Grammars

                    The effort to document South American native languages dates from the colonial period (approximately 1530–1810), when Spanish and Portuguese rulers sought out the most widely used indigenous languages in order to facilitate administration and evangelization in their newly conquered territories. Languages selected for this purpose were referred to as lenguas generales or línguas gerais (“general languages”) and continued to benefit from a relatively high prestige until well into the 18th century. The contributions of early colonial missionary grammarians were innovative in their introduction of new terminology and the recognition of semantic distinctions unknown to the languages of the Old World (Anchieta 1946, González de Pérez 1987, Maccioni 2008, de la Mata 2007, Santo Thomas 1994, Valdivia 1887). In spite of their normative application, colonial missionary grammars reflect the curiosity and open mind of their authors, who must have been exposed to lengthy discussions with native speakers on linguistic issues. The fundamental influence of missionary grammars can be traced in the views of one of the foremost philologists and language philosophers of the early 19th century, Wilhelm von Humboldt (Ringmacher and Tintemann 2011).

                    • Anchieta, Joseph de. 1946. Arte de grammatica da lingua mais usada na costa do Brasil. São Paulo, Brazil: Editora Anchieta.

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                      Grammar of the Tupí language (of the Tupí-Guaraní family), which was spoken along the coast of central and northern Brazil in the 16th century. It became used as the “general language” of Brazil during the colonial period, and its lexicon had a profound influence on Brazilian Portuguese. Anchieta, a Spanish Jesuit, is considered a patron of education in Brazil. Originally published in 1595.

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                      • de la Mata, Pedro. 2007. Arte de la lengua cholona (1748). Edited by Astrid Alexander-Bakkerus. Madrid: Iberoamericana.

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                        Modern edition of an 18th-century manuscript grammar (originally published in 1748) of Cholón (of the Hibito-Cholón family), an extinct language formerly spoken on the eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes. The editor has also published a reconstructed grammar of the language based on de la Mata’s manuscript (Alexander-Bakkerus, A. 2005. 18th century Cholón. Utrecht, The Netherlands: LOT).

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                        • González de Pérez, María Stella. 1987. “Diccionario y gramática chibcha”: Manuscrito anónimo de la Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia; Transcripción y estudio histórico-analítico. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

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                          Modern edition of an anonymous colonial grammar, preserved in manuscript form, of the Chibcha or Muisca language spoken around Bogotá in the 16th and 17th centuries. The long-extinct Muisca language (of the Chibchan family) was noteworthy, inter alia, for its semantically underspecified verb roots that acquire a specific meaning only when combined with adverbs. Originally available since the 17th century.

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                          • Maccioni, Antonio. 2008. Arte y vocabulario de la lengua Lule y Tonocoté. Edited by R. Badini, T. Deonette, and S. Pineider. Cagliari, Italy: CUEC, Centro di studi filologici sardi.

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                            Exemplary modern study of an 18th-century grammar and dictionary of the extinct Lule language (of the Lule-Vilela family), formerly spoken in northwestern Argentina. The author, Maccioni, was referred to as Machoni de Cerdeña (‘Machoni of Sardinia’) in the original manuscript published in 1732. Introductory articles by R. Badini and R. Zamponi.

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                            • Ringmacher, Manfred, and Ute Tintemann, eds. 2011. Wilhelm von Humboldt: Südamerikanische Grammatiken. Wilhelm von Humboldt Schriften zur Sprachwissenschaft, Division 3, vol. 5. Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schöningh.

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                              A richly commented edition of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s linguistic reflections based on colonial descriptions of South American languages. An essential source for understanding the development of early-19th-century views on language structure and typology.

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                              • Santo Thomas, Domingo de. 1994. Grammática, o, Arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú. Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica.

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                                This early grammar of the “general language” of Peru reflects the geographical variation that already existed within the domain of Quechua during the 16th century. It contains a classic explanation of the inclusive/exclusive distinction and a detailed discussion of Quechua verbal endings, which encode agent and patient simultaneously. Originally published in 1560. With an introduction by R. Cerrón-Palomino.

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                                • Valdivia, Luis de. 1887. Arte y gramatica general de la lengua que corre en todo el Reyno de Chile, con un vocabulario y confesionario. Lima, Peru: Francisco del Canto.

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                                  Grammar of the native language of Chile (Araucanian), written by a Jesuit missionary who advocated a peaceful approach to the nonsubmissive indigenous population of that country. Valdivia recognized the distinction between alveolar and interdental consonants and wrote one of the first insightful treatises on noun incorporation. Originally published in 1606.

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                                  Contemporary Grammatical Descriptions

                                  Grammatical descriptions of individual languages constitute the core of the research literature dedicated to languages of South America. Limitations of space allow us to include only a small sample of ten published grammars illustrating the importance of the descriptive work on South American indigenous languages. The sample exhibits a maximum of diversity from a phylogenetic perspective. It mainly includes descriptive studies published in English (Aikhenvald 2003, Dixon 2004, Epps 2008, Hoff 1968, Parker 1969, Smeets 2008, van der Voort 2004), but also work in French (Landaburu 1979), Portuguese (Seki 2000), and Spanish (Gerzenstein 1994). Some of the grammatical descriptions concern languages with an important historical status and a long tradition of study (Parker 1969, Smeets 2008). The other works selected in this section focus on languages with relatively few speakers that had not been studied extensively before. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of the published descriptions of South American languages remain unmentioned here. Note that much excellent descriptive work can be found in unpublished dissertations.

                                  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2003. A grammar of Tariana, from northwest Amazonia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                    Exhaustive grammatical description of an Arawak language spoken in northwestern Brazil (state of Amazonas), structurally (but not lexically) influenced by surrounding Tucanoan languages. Very interesting interaction between gender and nominal classifiers.

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                                    • Dixon, Robert M. W., and Alan R. Vogel. 2004. The Jarawara language of southern Amazonia. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                      Masterly grammatical analysis of a language of the Arawa family located in the state of Amazonas (Brazil). Unusual gender system and an amazingly complex morphosyntax.

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                                      • Epps, Patience. 2008. A grammar of Hup. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                        Extensive grammatical description of a Nadahup (Makúan) language, spoken in the state of Amazonas (Brazil). Example of a language featuring tone and prosodic nasality.

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                                        • Gerzenstein, Ana. 1994. Lengua maká: Estudio descriptivo. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras.

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                                          Descriptive analysis of a Matacoan language originally spoken in the Gran Chaco area of Paraguay.

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                                          • Hoff, Berend J. 1968. The Carib language. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

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                                            One of the first detailed grammatical studies of a South American lowland language, written in the tradition of Prague School structuralism. It addresses a variety of the Carib (also Kariña or Galibi) language of the Cariban family spoken in Suriname.

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                                            • Landaburu, Jon. 1979. La langue des Andoke (Amazonie colombienne). Paris: Société d’Etudes Linguistiques et Anthropologiques de France.

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                                              Grammatical description of the language of a community of Colombian Amazonia that was tragically decimated by local conflict and subsequently reconstituted.

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                                              • Parker, Gary J. 1969. Ayacucho Quechua grammar and dictionary. The Hague and Paris: Mouton.

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                                                An early modern grammatical description of one of the numerically important Quechuan languages, written in a structuralist framework. Very thorough analysis of the combinatory possibilities of derivational verbal affixes.

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                                                • Seki, Lucy. 2000. Gramática do Kamaiurá: Língua Tupi-Guarani do Alto Xingu. Campinas, Brazil: Editora do UNICAMP.

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                                                  Grammatical study of a conservative Tupí-Guaraní (Tupían) language spoken by a traditional community in Mato Grosso (Brazil), written by one of the leading Brazilian linguists. Classical example of an active-stative language.

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                                                  • Smeets, Ineke. 2008. A grammar of Mapuche. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                    DOI: 10.1515/9783110211795Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Grammatical description of a modern variety of Araucanian spoken near Temuco in southern Chile, with special attention for personal cross-reference marking of both agent and patient in complement clauses (nominalizations).

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                                                    • van der Voort, Hein. 2004. A grammar of Kwaza. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                      Extraordinarily detailed grammatical description of a linguistic isolate spoken by c. 25 people in Rondônia (Brazil). The speakers are part of a multilingual community in which another linguistic isolate (Aikana) is dominant. Good example of a multifunctional nominal classifier system.

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                                                      Normative Grammars

                                                      Normative grammars occupy an important place in Latin American societies, where the maintenance, the propagation, and the standardization of indigenous languages are considered among the principal functions of a grammatical description, as shown by the examples included below. Cerrón-Palomino 1976 is based on principles of modern linguistics, whereas Guasch 1956 follows a more traditional approach.

                                                      • Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo M. 1976. Gramática quechua: Junín-Huanca. Lima, Peru: Ministerio de Educación, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.

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                                                        One of six descriptive grammars commissioned by the government of Peru for the purpose of establishing regional norms for the Quechuan languages spoken in that country. Although accurate and based on fieldwork, this grammar seeks to unify several closely related dialects and in some cases relies on symbols referring to reconstructed phonemes.

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                                                        • Guasch, Antonio. 1956. El idioma Guaraní: Gramática y antología de prosa y verso. Asunción, Paraguay: Casa América—Moreno Hermanos.

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                                                          A detailed grammar of Paraguayan Guaraní with a strongly prescriptive and purist approach. It presents an elaborate decimal system of numerals in which previously nonexistent terms are created artificially. It includes an anthology of texts that gives an impression of Guaraní literature in the mid-20th century. First published in 1944.

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                                                          Dictionaries

                                                          Dictionaries constitute one of the principal resources for research on South American Indian languages. Since etymological studies tend to be rare or nonexistent, historical information reflected in inherited vocabulary or fossilized morphological material can often be obtained only by a careful analysis of dictionaries. Some of the best dictionaries date from colonial times. Only a few outstanding examples are included here (Bertonio 1984, González Holguín 1952, Montoya 2011). The late 19th century and early 20th century are represented by Bridges 1982 and Augusta 1966, respectively. The other selected dictionaries are more recent work (Gerzenstein 1999; Mattéi-Muller, et al. 1994; Weber, et al. 1998).

                                                          • Augusta, Félix José de. 1966. Diccionario araucano. Vol. 1, Araucano-Español. Padre Las Casas, Chile: Imprenta y editorial “San Francisco.”

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                                                            A very detailed and insightful dictionary of the Araucanian (Mapuche) language, compiled by a Bavarian missionary in southern Chile. Rich in examples of use and derivations. Originally published in 1916.

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                                                            • Bertonio, Ludovico. 1984. Vocabulario de la lengua aymara. Edited by Xavier Albó and Félix Layme. Cochabamba, Bolivia: CERES, IFEA, MUSEF.

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                                                              A masterpiece of 17th-century lexicology due to an Italian member of the Jesuit mission in Peru. Essential source for the Aymara language as it was spoken on the Peruvian-Bolivian altiplano shortly after the European conquest. Originally published in 1612.

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                                                              • Bridges, Thomas. 1982. Yamana-English: A dictionary of the speech of Tierra del Fuego. Edited by Ferdinand Hestermann and Martin Gusinde. Mödling, Austria: Missionsdruckerei St. Gabriel.”

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                                                                Extraordinarily rich dictionary of the southernmost indigenous language in the Americas, the product of decades of pioneering work of a British missionary with the Yahgan (Yamana) people of Tierra del Fuego. Idiosyncratic orthography and treatment of verbal derivation. First published in 1933. The original manuscript dates from 1879.

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                                                                • Gerzenstein, Ana. 1999. Diccionario etnolingüístico Maká-Español (DELME). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Instituto de Lingüística.

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                                                                  A dictionary of the (Matacoan) Maká language of the Paraguayan Chaco area. It combines lexical and ethnographic information.

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                                                                  • González Holguín, Diego. 1952. Vocabulario de la lengua general de todo el Perú llamada lengua Qquichua o lengua del Inca. Edited by R. Porras Barrenechea. Lima, Peru: Imprenta Santa María.

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                                                                    Monumental dictionary of Cuzco Quechua as it was spoken in Peru in the early 17th century. One of the main sources of information on the language of the Inca after the conquest by the Spaniards. Originally published in 1608.

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                                                                    • Mattéi-Muller, Marie-Claude, Paul Henley, and Prajedes Salas. 1994. Diccionario ilustrado Panare-Español Español-Panare: Un aporte al estudio de los Panares-E’ñepa. Caracas, Venezuela: Comisión Nacional Quinto Centenario.

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                                                                      Beautifully illustrated dictionary of a Cariban language spoken in Venezuela.

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                                                                      • Montoya, Antonio Ruíz de. 2011. Tesoro de la lengua Guaraní. Edited by Bartomeu Meliá. Asunción, Paraguay: CEPAG.

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                                                                        Exemplary insightful dictionary of ancient Guaraní with numerous explanations of use, derivations, and ethnographic comments. Originally published in 1639.

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                                                                        • Weber, David J., Félix Cayco Zambrano, Teodoro Cayco Villar, and Marlene Ballena Dávila. 1998. Rimaycuna: Quechua de Huánuco; diccionario del quechua de Huallaga con índices castellano e inglés. Serie Lingüística Peruana 48. Lima, Peru: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.

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                                                                          An extensive multilingual dictionary of a Quechuan language, especially designed for use within the speaker community. Orthographic decisions were taken in accordance with the community.

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                                                                          Text Editions

                                                                          Although many texts in South American indigenous languages have been published, only a few have been properly analyzed and studied. Some examples of texts that have received considerable attention are included here. Collections of text that were written down under circumstances in which indigenous communities were still largely intact provide an invaluable source, allowing one to appreciate the state of indigenous languages before or at the beginning of contact (Nimuendajú Unckel 1914, Salomon and Urioste 1991). In other cases, conservative communities may preserve sufficient traditional concepts to provide a good idea of language use in an original cultural setting (Cadogan 1959). Text collections from speech communities in a terminal state are represented as well (Fernández Garay 1997). In general, texts in indigenous languages of South America reflect different degrees of adaptation to the multicultural situation in which speaker communities have to survive. This can be appreciated in the formal poetic structure of a famous Quechua play from the colonial period (Calvo Pérez 1998). Music texts, of which some can be traced to colonial times, also constitute an important source for understanding poetic practice and thematic issues relevant to indigenous culture (Montoya, et al. 1987). In more recent times, autobiographies have become an important genre in indigenous languages of South America. Two examples are included (Condori Mamani 1977, Coña 1984).

                                                                          • Cadogan, León. 1959. Ayvu rapyta: Textos míticos de los Mbyá-Guaraní del Guairá. Boletim, No. 277; Antropologia, No. 5. São Paulo, Brazil: Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras.

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                                                                            A collection of ritual texts obtained from the Mbyá (Tupí-Guaraní) people in Paraguay by a local judge. The basis for several studies on traditional Guaraní religion.

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                                                                            • Calvo Pérez, Julio, ed. 1998. Ollantay: Análisis crítico, reconstrucción y traducción; edición crítica de la obra anónima quechua. Cuzco, Peru: Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos Bartolomé de Las Casas.

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                                                                              Edition of an early-18th-century theater play involving the forbidden love between an Inca general and the daughter of the Inca Pachacutec. Its authorship is debated. Long considered to be a masterpiece of Inca theater, it is now generally assumed to be a product of the colonial period reflecting the Spanish dramatic tradition. Several versions and translations are available. The original was completed around 1700.

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                                                                              • Coña, Pascual. 1984. Testimonio de un cacique mapuche. Santiago, Chile: Pehuen Editores.

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                                                                                Memories of one of the chiefs who survived the final uprising of the Mapuche people in southern Chile and their subsequent “pacification” by the Chilean army in the 1880s. Outstanding examples of Araucanian rhetorical art.

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                                                                                • Condori Mamani, Gregorio. 1977. Autobiografía. Edited by Ricardo Valderrama Fernández and Carmen Escalante Gutiérrez. Cuzco, Peru: Centro Bartolomé de Las Casas.

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                                                                                  Unforgettable account of the life histories of Gregorio Condori Mamani, a landless farm worker from Cuzco (Peru), and his wife Asunta.

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                                                                                  • Fernández Garay, Ana. 1997. Testimonios de los últimos Tehuelches. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Instituto de Lingüística.

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                                                                                    A collection of texts with translation and analysis collected among the last surviving speakers of the Tehuelche language in the province of Santa Cruz in Patagonia (Argentina).

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                                                                                    • Montoya, Rodrigo, Luis Montoya, and Edwin Montoya, eds. 1987. La sangre de los cerros: Urqukunapa yawarnin (Antología de la poesía quechua que se canta en el Perú). 2 vols. Lima, Peru: Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales, Mosca Azul Editores and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

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                                                                                      An extensive collection of Quechua song texts from Peru accompanied by translation. The huayno genre, which often conveys a social message, is particularly well represented.

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                                                                                      • Nimuendajú Unckel, Curt. 1914. Die Sagen von der Erschaffung und Vernichtung der Welt als Grundlagen der Religion der Apapocúva-Guaraní. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 46:284–403.

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                                                                                        Creation stories transmitted by a traditional Guaraní tribe in search of the “land without evil,” recorded by one of the greatest Brazilian ethnographers.

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                                                                                        • Salomon, Frank, and George Urioste. 1991. The Huarochiri manuscript: A testament of ancient and colonial Andean religion. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                          Commented edition with translation and analysis of the most important Quechua text inherited from the colonial period (around 1600). The text describes native religious practices and the subsequent clash with Christianity. Originally completed before 1608.

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                                                                                          Edited Volumes With Miscellaneous Topics

                                                                                          This section includes a small sample of publications that have played an influential role in the development of the field of South American Indian language studies. They focus on the languages of the Andes (Cole, et al. 1994) or on languages of the Amazonian region (Derbyshire and Pullum 1986–1998, Payne 1990). One included volume covers the whole of South America (Klein and Stark 1985).

                                                                                          • Cole, Peter, Gabriella Hermon, and Mario Daniel Martín, eds. 1994. Language in the Andes. Newark: Univ. of Delaware, Latin American Studies Program.

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                                                                                            A collection of essays on the linguistics of Andean languages.

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                                                                                            • Derbyshire, Desmond C., and Geoffrey K. Pullum, eds. 1986–1998. Handbook of Amazonian languages. 4 vols. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                              A four-volume handbook that contains grammatical sketches of Amazonian languages but also a reconstruction of the Arawakan language family (by David Payne 1991).

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                                                                                              • Klein, Harriet Manelis, and Louisa R. Stark, eds. 1985. South American Indian languages: Retrospect and prospect. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                The first volume to bring together valuable essays on diverse topics of South American language studies after a long period of silence in this domain.

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                                                                                                • Payne, Doris L., ed. 1990. Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                  This volume is similar in purpose to the preceding one but focuses on in-depth typological essays about Amazonian languages. It contains a classification of the South American languages by Kaufman 1990 (cited under Classification).

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                                                                                                  Journals

                                                                                                  Specialized journals dealing with languages of South America are relatively scarce, but their number is growing (LIAMES). Most frequently a journal will address the indigenous languages of the Americas as a whole (Amerindia, International Journal of American Linguistics). The interface between anthropology and linguistics is also well represented (Anthropological Linguistics, Revista Brasileira de Lingüística Antropológica). Finally, prestigious journals that focus on social and historical issues may occasionally contain authoritative articles on linguistic topics (Revista Andina).

                                                                                                  Classification

                                                                                                  The classification of languages and language families is a much-debated topic in the field of South American languages, where classificatory successes based on classical methods of historical linguistic comparison have been scarce until the early 21st century. The cited literature illustrates a significant lack of consensus among the authors on the topic of phylogenetic classification and demonstrates that a real reconstructive effort is still to be undertaken. The classifications included here tend to be more or less comprehensive. Some of them claim phylogenetic unity for the South American languages, a view that has not become generally accepted (Greenberg 1959, Greenberg 1987), whereas others supply an inventory of the language groups with more limited and specific claims for genetic interconnectedness (Kaufman 1990, Key 1979, Loukotka 1968, Suárez 1974).

                                                                                                  • Greenberg, Joseph H. 1959. Linguistic classification of South America. In Native peoples of South America. Edited by Julian H. Steward and Louis C. Faron, 22–23. New York, Toronto, and London: McGraw-Hill.

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                                                                                                    In his earliest published classifications of the South American indigenous languages, Greenberg proposes a division into three major groupings: Macro-Chibchan, Andean-Equatorial, and Ge-Pano-Carib.

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                                                                                                    • Greenberg, Joseph H. 1987. Language in the Americas. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                      Greenberg’s final work on the languages of the Americas, in which data supporting his earlier proposals are provided based on a method characterized as “mass lexical comparison.” In this book, it is argued that all South American languages belong to a single language stock (Amerind), which, according to its author, includes most of the languages of the Americas.

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                                                                                                      • Kaufman, Terrence S. 1990. Language history in South America: What we know and how to know more. In Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages. Edited by Doris L. Payne, 13–73. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                        A state-of-the-art classificatory overview of the languages of South America that avoids uncertain genealogical connections. The author distinguishes 118 linguistic lineages, none of them controversial, and proposes some tentative reductions.

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                                                                                                        • Key, Mary Ritchie. 1979. The grouping of South American Indian languages. Tübingen, West Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag.

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                                                                                                          An informative essay on the indigenous languages of South America containing many anecdotal facts and typological data. The information on the classification of these languages is mainly based on Greenberg’s initial proposal.

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                                                                                                          • Loukotka, Čestmír. 1968. Classification of South American Indian languages. Edited by Johannes Wilbert. Los Angeles: UCLA, Latin American Center.

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                                                                                                            A catalog of the indigenous languages of South America organized by phylogenetic units (117). The languages for which documentation was available in the 1960s are illustrated with short word-lists, allowing an impressionistic assessment of the genetic coherence of each family.

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                                                                                                            • Suárez, Jorge A. 1974. Classification of South American Indian languages. In Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia, knowledge in depth. 15th ed. Vol. 17, 105–112. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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                                                                                                              This classification presents some reductions in relation to other contemporary genealogical classifications of South American languages. It distinguishes eighty-two groupings, some of them controversial.

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                                                                                                              Historical Overviews of Individual Languages

                                                                                                              Several books seek to provide an overview of different aspects of a South American Indian language, including elements of its structure and further characteristics (Cerrón-Palomino 1987, Cerrón-Palomino 2000), its history, and the social context in which it has survived until the end of the 20st century (Meliá 1992, Salas 1992).

                                                                                                              • Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo M. 1987. Lingüística quechua. Cuzco, Peru: Centro “Bartolomé de Las Casas.”

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                                                                                                                A comprehensive overview of the structural characteristics of Quechua (viz. the Quechuan languages), with detailed attention to its geographical variation and its historical development.

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                                                                                                                • Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo M. 2000. Lingüística aimara. Cuzco, Peru: Centro “Bartolomé de Las Casas.”

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                                                                                                                  A similar overview of the Aymaran languages with a distinct focus on reconstruction.

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                                                                                                                  • Meliá, Bartomeu. 1992. La lengua guaraní del Paraguay: Historia, sociedad y literatura. Madrid: Editorial MAPFRE.

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                                                                                                                    A very readable book dealing with all aspects of Paraguayan Guaraní: its genesis, its linguistic and social history, folk literature, and so on.

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                                                                                                                    • Salas, Adalberto. 1992. El mapuche o araucano: Fonología, gramática y antología de cuentos. Madrid: Editorial MAPFRE.

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                                                                                                                      A book similar in purpose to the previous item dealing with the Araucanian or Mapuche language of Chile.

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                                                                                                                      Sociolinguistic Studies

                                                                                                                      Within sociolinguistic work on South American Indian languages, two main categories can be distinguished: studies addressing the social history of languages and studies focusing on contemporary issues. The situation of endangerment that affects all the indigenous languages of South America in different forms is such an important issue that it is treated in a separate subsection here.

                                                                                                                      Endangered Languages Studies

                                                                                                                      Language endangerment is a central issue for as far as the indigenous languages of South America are concerned. Ever since the first contact with Europeans around 1500, extinction has done away with the indigenous languages in large parts of South America. Most of the remaining languages are spoken by such small numbers that their eventual survival is unlikely. Languages that still have a substantial number of speakers (Aymara, Quechuan languages, Mapuche) are threatened by a dangerous shift that affects the transmission of the language to younger generations. Paraguayan Guaraní, which is not immediately threatened with extinction, is subject to heavy influence from Spanish in its daily use. Studies on language endangerment in South America have evolved from a signalizing function (Adelaar 1991, Queixalós and Renault-Lescure 2000) to a more programmatic approach (Grinevald 1998). Inventories or catalogs of endangered languages, including atlas-type projects, with an indication of the degree of urgency involved, as well as much practical information, have gained importance in the early 21st century (Brenzinger 2007, Moseley 2010). Wetzels 2009 highlights the linguistic treasures that are lost when languages go extinct, with an emphasis on South America. Haviland and Flores Farfán 2007 is an authoritative handbook on the practice of language documentation; it has been published in a Spanish version in order to facilitate documentation work in South America.

                                                                                                                      • Adelaar, Willem F. H. 1991. The endangered languages problem: South America. In Endangered languages. Edited by R. H. Robins and E. M. Uhlenbeck, 45–91. Collection Diogène. Oxford and New York: Berg.

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                                                                                                                        A survey of the indigenous languages currently spoken in the different South American nations with a discussion of their endangered situation, designed to arouse awareness of the threatened future of these languages and the loss for linguistics if they were to become extinct.

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                                                                                                                        • Brenzinger, Matthias, ed. 2007. Language diversity endangered. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9783110197129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          A useful inventory of endangered languages in the world, with a discussion of the possible degrees and different types of endangerment, including two chapters on South America.

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                                                                                                                          • Grinevald, Colette. 1998. Language endangerment in South America: A programmatic approach. In Endangered languages: Language loss and community response. Edited by Lenore A. Grenoble and Lindsay J. Whaley, 124–159. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139166959Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            This article points out a course of action to counter the loss of languages in South America.

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                                                                                                                            • Haviland, John B., and José Antonio Flores Farfán, eds. 2007. Bases de la documentación lingüística. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas.

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                                                                                                                              Spanish edition of a handbook dealing with the requirements of the documentation of languages, in particular, languages that are endangered and insufficiently studied. It includes essays on ethical issues, methods of data archiving, the position of grammatical description within modern language documentation, and so on. Originally published in English in 2006 by Jost Gippert, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann, and Ulrike Mosel.

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                                                                                                                              • Moseley, Chris, ed. 2010. Atlas of the world’s languages in danger. 3d ed. Paris: UNESCO.

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                                                                                                                                A unique source presenting updated information (location, numbers, degree of endangerment, etc.) on most endangered languages. The South American sample is nearly exhaustive. Also published in French and Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                • Queixalós, François, and Odile Renault-Lescure, eds. 2000. As línguas amazônicas hoje. São Paulo, Brazil: Institut de recherche pour le développement, Instituto Socioambiental and Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.

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                                                                                                                                  Informative collection of essays dealing with the current situation of indigenous languages in all the nations that share parts of the Amazonian region. It includes an excellent set of maps.

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                                                                                                                                  • Wetzels, Leo, ed. 2009. The linguistics of endangered languages: Contributions to morphology and morphosyntax. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics (LOT).

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                                                                                                                                    A collection of articles on linguistic topics based on data from endangered languages from South America and other parts of the world.

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                                                                                                                                    Contemporary Sociolinguistic Issues

                                                                                                                                    Sociolinguistic studies dealing with contemporary issues relevant to the indigenous languages of South America cover topics such as educational policy (Hornberger 1998), language planning and demography (Albó 1995), and language attitudes (Howard 2007; Pérez-Silva, et al. 2008). These topics are usually placed in the context of the survival prospects of the languages concerned.

                                                                                                                                    • Albó, Xavier, ed. 1995. Bolivia plurilingüe: Guía para planificadores y educadores. 2 vols. with maps. Cuadernos de investigación 44. La Paz, Bolivia: CIPCA.

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                                                                                                                                      Detailed survey of the number and distribution of speakers of indigenous languages in Bolivia with emphasis on Aymara and Quechua. Excellent set of maps containing demographic information down to the level of districts and townships. A unique source for South American circumstances.

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                                                                                                                                      • Hornberger, Nancy H. 1998. Bilingual education and language maintenance: A southern Peruvian Quechua case. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Providence, RI: Foris.

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                                                                                                                                        This work deals with the effects and the acceptance of bilingual education among speakers of Aymara and Quechua on the Peruvian-Bolivian altiplano.

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                                                                                                                                        • Howard, Rosaleen. 2007. Por los linderos de la lengua: Ideologías lingüísticas en los Andes. Lima, Peru: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos.

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                                                                                                                                          A richly documented work on the survival of the Andean languages in their respective countries with particular attention to speaker attitudes in a changing society.

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                                                                                                                                          • Pérez-Silva, Jorge Ivan, Jorge Acurio Palma, and Raúl Bendezú Araujo. 2008. Contra el prejuicio lingüístico de la motosidad: Un estudio de las vocales del castellano andino desde la fonética acústica. Lima, Peru: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Instituto Riva-Agüero.

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                                                                                                                                            This study addresses the discrimination of Spanish speakers with a Quechua or Aymara background based on their alleged inability to pronounce the Spanish vowels correctly.

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                                                                                                                                            Social History Studies

                                                                                                                                            Reconstructions of the (pre)historical and social setting in which the major indigenous languages of South America developed occupy a significant place in the literature on these languages. Mannheim 1991 refers to observably documented historical periods, while Torero 1974 and Torero 2002 are also concerned with prehistorical developments involving a certain amount of interpretative deduction.

                                                                                                                                            • Mannheim, Bruce. 1991. The language of the Inka since the European invasion. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                                                              A highly informed and thorough analysis of the social and historical development of southern Peruvian Quechua during the colonial period.

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                                                                                                                                              • Torero, Alfredo A. 1974. El quechua y la historia social andina. Lima, Peru: Universidad Ricardo Palma.

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                                                                                                                                                An authoritative reconstruction of the prehistory and history of the Quechuan language family in the context of archaeology and colonial ethnohistory. It addresses the consequences of local variation for the survival of Quechua in the contemporary world.

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                                                                                                                                                • Torero, Alfredo A. 2002. Idiomas de los Andes: Lingüística e historia. Lima, Peru: Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos, Editorial Horizonte.

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                                                                                                                                                  A synthesis of the previous work of the author on the Andean languages and their social history enhanced with a number of innovative insights.

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                                                                                                                                                  Anthropological Linguistics

                                                                                                                                                  South American Indian languages offer a rich laboratory for the study of linguistic phenomena in their relation to traditional culture and the way cultural concepts are encoded in language, as discussed in Hardman 1981. Understandably, there is some overlap between this section and the section on Contemporary Sociolinguistic Issues. Among the linguistic phenomena that are particularly well developed in some South American languages and that are relevant to the cultural context, the existence of elaborate space distinctions (Hough 2008) and the use of sound-symbolic expressions or ideophones (Nuckolls 1996) can be mentioned. For some other categories characteristic of South American indigenous languages, see the section on Typological Studies. The absence of linguistic and cognitive distinctions that are commonly found elsewhere in the world under the influence of cultural restrictions is also a matter of debate (Everett 2005). Finally, ritual speech and different types of discourse play a role in many indigenous speech communities in South America (Sherzer 1983).

                                                                                                                                                  • Everett, Daniel L. 2005. Cultural constraints on grammar and cognition in Pirahã: Another look at the design features of human language. Current Anthropology 46.4: 621–646.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/431525Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    One of the publications in which the author expresses his views on the cultural limitations that seem to affect language in the case of Amazonian peoples such as the Brazilian Pirahã (in the state of Amazonas), among whom the author conducted extensive field research.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Hardman, Martha J., ed. 1981. The Aymara language in its social and cultural context: A collection of essays on aspects of Aymara language and culture. Gainesville: Univ. Presses of Florida.

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                                                                                                                                                      A volume with contributions dealing with different aspects of Aymara language, culture, and society.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Hough, Karen. 2008. The expression and perception of space in Wayana. Leiden, The Netherlands: Sidestone Press.

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                                                                                                                                                        A short but insightful study about the multiple ways space is encoded in Wayana, a Cariban language spoken in the Guyanas.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Nuckolls, Janis B. 1996. Sounds like life: Sound-symbolic grammar, performance, and cognition in Pastaza Quechua. New York and Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                          This work deals with the meaning of sound-symbolic expressions in a Quechuan language of the Ecuadorean Amazon. It gives particular attention to the way such expressions are incorporated in grammatically structured speech.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Sherzer, Joel. 1983. Kuna ways of speaking: An ethnographic perspective. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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                                                                                                                                                            This study addresses the different types of discourse (ceremonial and other) used among the (Chibchan) Kuna in the transitional region between Central America and South America.

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                                                                                                                                                            Dialect Studies

                                                                                                                                                            The study of geographical variation has played an important role in Andean linguistics since the 1960s. Dialect differences also have a sociolinguistic dimension as they may relate to ethnic identity or self-identification of speaker groups. In particular, for the Quechuan languages (commonly referred to as “dialects” of a Quechua language), dialect studies such as Torero 1964 have become an indispensable tool for understanding the development of the language family in the past. Briggs 1993 is a more localized effort that was directed to the Aymara languages. Dialectological atlas projects involving a systematic study of the geographical distribution of lexical items, such as Dietrich and Symeonidis 2009, are still exceptional.

                                                                                                                                                            • Briggs, Lucy Therina. 1993. El idioma Aymara: Variantes regionales y sociales. La Paz, Bolivia: Ediciones ILCA.

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                                                                                                                                                              A very thorough study of the dialect differences that exist in the Aymara language in Bolivia, southern Peru, and northern Chile.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Dietrich, Wolf, and Haralambos Symeonidis. 2009. Atlas Lingüístico Guaraní-Románico. Vol. 1, Léxico del cuerpo humano. Kiel, Germany: Westensee Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                The first part of an ambitious project mapping the distribution of lexical terms in the Guaraní geographical domain.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Torero, Alfredo A. 1964. Los dialectos quechuas. Anales Científicos de la Universidad Agraria 2.4: 446–478.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Classic introduction to the Quechuan dialect situation and the characteristics that define the different subgroups of the Quechuan language family.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Typological Studies

                                                                                                                                                                  Essays and books that deal with linguistic topics of general typological interest constitute one of the fastest-growing bodies of literature in connection with the indigenous languages of South America. Only a small sample of representative work is mentioned here. Much work deals with derivational morphology, which can be extraordinarily complex in South American native languages, as discussed in Hintz 2012 and Rowicka and Carlin 2006. Issues relating to syntax and morphosyntax are also gaining importance. These issues are covered in Gildea and Queixalós 2010 and Guillaume and Rose 2011. Most of these studies take a typological and functionalist approach. Generative studies on the syntax of South American languages, such as Lefebvre and Muysken 1988, have not been so frequent. Nominal classifiers have developed in unique ways in the languages of South America and are receiving more and more attention, as in Seifart and Payne 2007. Finally, there is a fair amount of work on phonology, including Wetzels 1995, which includes issues such as nasal contours and elaborate tone systems.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Gildea, Spike, and François Queixalós, eds. 2010. Ergativity in Amazonia. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of articles dealing with ergative syntax in languages of the Amazonian region.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Guillaume, Antoine, and Françoise Rose, eds. 2011. Special issue: Argument-encoding systems in Bolivian Amazonian languages. International Journal of American Linguistics 77.4.

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                                                                                                                                                                      This issue contains articles on systems of argument encoding in languages of the Bolivian lowlands belonging to different linguistic families. Articles available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Hintz, Daniel J. 2012. Crossing aspectual frontiers: Emergence, evolution, and interwoven semantic domains in South Conchucos Quechua discourse. Vol. 146. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A detailed study of aspect and the interface of aspect with other categories in a Quechuan language that exhibits significant innovations in this respect.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Lefebvre, Claire, and Pieter C. Muysken. 1988. Mixed categories: Nominalizations in Quechua. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                                                                                                                                                          A generative analysis of nominalizations and their use in relative clauses in southern Peruvian Quechua.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Rowicka, Grażyna J., and Eithne B. Carlin. 2006. What’s in a verb? Studies in the verbal morphology of the languages of the Americas. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics (LOT).

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                                                                                                                                                                            A collection of essays illustrating the rich potential of verbal morphology in South American and other New World languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Seifart, Frank, and Doris L. Payne, eds. 2007. Special issue: Nominal classification in the North West Amazon: Issues in areal diffusion and typological characterization. International Journal of American Linguistics 73.4.

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                                                                                                                                                                              A collection of articles relating to nominal classifiers, a common phenomenon in indigenous languages of the South American lowlands. Articles available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Wetzels, Leo, ed. 1995. Estudos fonológicos das línguas indígenas brasileiras. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Editora UFRJ.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Studies on phonological issues in Brazilian Indian languages, for instance, syllabic contours involving nasal-oral contrasts. The editor’s contribution highlights the significance of the Brazilian native languages for phonological theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Historical-Comparative Linguistics Studies

                                                                                                                                                                                In spite of limited progress at the deepest level, the languages of South America continue to be studied from a historical-comparative angle. The task of reconstructing the linguistic past of South America is just about to begin and will certainly take several decades, as discussed in Campbell 1997. In the meantime, reconstruction work within firmly established language families has been advancing, in particular, the Cariban family (Meira and Franchetto 2005, Galucio and Gildea 2010, Gildea 1998), the Arawakan family (Ramirez 2001), and the Tupi family (Dietrich and Symeonidis 2006). Research on the Macro-Jê language stock of Brazil has been making a slow but successful start, as described in Davis 1968 and Galucio and Gildea 2010. More ambitious but nevertheless promising have been the efforts to bring together Cariban, Tupi, and Macro-Jê in a comprehensive phylogenetic unit, as in Rodrigues 2000. In addition to the titles mentioned here, more work can be found in the section on Classification.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Campbell, Lyle. 1997. American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of native America. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  An authoritative study on the possibilities of historical-comparative linguistics and reconstruction applied to the indigenous languages of the New World, with particular relevance for South America.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Davis, Irvine. 1968. Some Macro-Jê relationships. International Journal of American Linguistics 34.1: 42–47.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/464994Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    The first publication establishing regular lexical correspondences between three branches of the assumed Macro-Jê stock: Jê, Karajá, and Maxakalí. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Dietrich, Wolf, and Haralambos Symeonidis, eds. 2006. Guaraní y “Mawetí-Tupi-Guaraní”: Estudios históricos y descriptivos sobre una familia lingüística de América del Sur. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Essays on the historical and phylogenetic relations among three branches of the Tupí stock: Tupí-Guaraní, Maué, and Awetí.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Galucio, Ana Vilacy, and Spike Gildea, eds. 2010. Special issue: Exploring the linguistic past: Historical linguistics in South America. International Journal of American Linguistics 76.4.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Four essays on topics pertaining to the historical linguistics of Amazonian languages, including contributions by Ribeiro and van der Voort on the classification of Jabutían in the Macro-Jê stock and by Meira, Gildea, and Hoff on “ablaut” in the Cariban language family. Articles available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gildea, Spike. 1998. On reconstructing grammar: Comparative Cariban morphosyntax. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          An important study on historical morphosyntax exemplified by the development of ergativity in the Cariban languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Meira, Sérgio, and Bruna Franchetto. 2005. The southern Cariban languages and the Cariban family. International Journal of American Linguistics 71.2: 127–192.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/491633Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            A study of the southern (sub-Amazonian) branch of the Cariban family. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ramirez, Henri. 2001. Línguas Arawak da Amazônia setentrional: Comparação e descrição. Manaus, Brazil: Editora da Universidade do Amazonas.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Detailed historical comparison of the Arawakan languages that are spoken north of the Amazon River.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rodrigues, Aryon Dall’Igna. 2000. “Ge-Pano-Carib” x “Jê-Tupí-Karib”: Sobre relaciones lingüísticas prehistóricas en Sudamérica. In Actas del I Congreso de Lenguas Indígenas de Sudamérica (Lima, 4-6 August 1999). Vol. 1. Edited by L. Miranda Esquerre, 95–104. Lima, Peru: Universidad Ricardo Palma, Facultad de Lenguas Modernas, Departamento Académico de Humanidades.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                The published version of a conference paper in which the author hypothesizes a phylogenetic relationship between three of the major language groupings in South America: Cariban, Tupían, and Macro-Jê, together covering most of the eastern half of South America.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Language Contact Studies

                                                                                                                                                                                                Language contact between South American languages is a research domain whose significance is bound to grow in the coming years. Together with the detection of phylogenetic relations, it constitutes the main key toward understanding the linguistic history of the subcontinent. More studies on language contact can be found in the section on Multidisciplinary Studies. Contact studies of South American languages focus on widely diverging levels of time depth. Some contact phenomena are still operative and can be observed relatively closely at the present day, as shown in Aikhenvald 2002, Carlin 2006, and Sorenson 1967. Other contact studies cover a continuous period of many centuries or even millennia, including Cerrón-Palomino 2008, an exemplary case of the convergence between the Quechuan and Aymaran languages. Some past contact processes can be reconstructed in considerable detail but have ceased to operate centuries ago, as discussed in Wise 1976. Prolonged language contact between a Quechuan language and Spanish constitutes another terrain of study, covered by Haboud 1998 and Muysken 1979. Studies of areal linguistics, such as Constenla Umaña 1991, are still relatively exceptional, but this is rapidly changing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2002. Language contact in Amazonia. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A detailed study of a unique situation of language contact found in the Rio Negro and Vaupés River areas in northwestern Brazil. It demonstrates how grammatical diffusion can be pervasive, whereas lexical diffusion is rejected for sociocultural reasons.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Carlin, Eithne B. 2006. Feeling the need: The borrowing of Cariban functional categories into Mawayana. In Grammars in contact: A cross-linguistic typology. Edited by A. Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, 313–332. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    This study illustrates the structural influence of Cariban languages upon Mawayana, an Arawak language spoken in the Guyanas. The Mawayana share a community with the Cariban-speaking Trio in Suriname.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo. 2008. Quechumara: Estructuras paralelas de las lenguas quechua y aymara. La Paz, Bolivia: Universidad Mayor de San Simón, PROEIB Andes, Plural Editores.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      The morphosyntactic structures of Aymaran and Quechuan languages are amazingly similar and reflect many centuries of close contact. The author presents an inventory of all the similarities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Constenla Umaña, Adolfo. 1991. Las lenguas del área intermedia: Introducción a su estudio areal. San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the few studies on areal linguistics related to South America. The area covered is Central America as well as the northwestern part of South America (Colombia, western Venezuela, Ecuador).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Haboud, Marleen. 1998. Quichua y castellano en los Andes ecuatorianos: Los efectos de un contacto prolongado. Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-Yala.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A sociolinguistic approach to the interaction between Spanish and Ecuadorean Quichua in the Ecuadorean highlands.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Muysken, Pieter C. 1979. La mezcla de quechua y castellano: El caso de la “media lengua” en el Ecuador. Lexis 3.1: 41–56.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            The media lengua is a language combining Quechua morphology with lexical material of Spanish origin. It is used on markets in Ecuador for communication between speakers of Spanish and the local Quechua. Similar cases of relexification are found elsewhere in the Andes (for instance, in the Callahuaya language in Bolivia, which combines Quechua morphology with vocabulary from Puquina and other lexical sources).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sorensen, Arthur P., Jr. 1967. Multilingualism in the northwest Amazon. American Anthropologist 69:670–684.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1525/aa.1967.69.6.02a00030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This article shows how exogamic practices correlate with the linguistic identity of marriage partners in the Vaupés region of northwestern Brazil and adjacent Colombia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wise, Mary Ruth. 1976. Apuntes sobre la influencia inca entre los amuesha: Factor que oscurece la clasificación de su idioma. Revista del Museo Nacional 42:355–366.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first assessment of one of the most spectacular cases of language contact in South America, the lexical influence undergone by Amuesha, an Arawakan language, as a result of contact with the neighboring Quechua.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Multidisciplinary Studies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A number of studies explicitly pursue the mission of confronting the results of (historical) linguistic studies on South American languages with the findings of other disciplines, in particular, archaeology (Heggarty and Beresford-Jones 2012) and (ethno)history (Heggarty and Pearce 2011). Since all the disciplines involved have a tradition of establishing their own interpretations of the data, independently from the others, the perspectives of such a multidisciplinary approach can be particularly promising.

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