9171 - Genetic relationship and degree of relatedness within the Tupí linguistic family: a lexicostatistic and phylogenetic approach

The Tupí family is one of the largest linguistic groups of South America, composed of about 40 languages that are classified into ten branches: Arikém, Ramarama, Mondé, Puruborá, Jurúna, Tupari, Mundurukú, Mawé, Awetí, and Tupí-Guaraní. This paper presents the result of a collaborative lexicostatistic and phylogenetic estimation study applied to the Tupí family, showing the degree of relatedness or divergence across its languages. The data is composed of the 100-item list of Swadesh (1955) for languages representing all ten branches of Tupí. This material was collected and coded by specialists in the target languages, except for the languages of the Tupi-Guarani branch for which we used published material. After scoring the cognate sets across the languages, we calculate lexical distance between language pairs and generate phylogenetic networks (cf. Bryant & Moulton 2004; Felsenstein 2004) representing the internal classification of the family. Despite the pitfalls of lexicostatistical methods and the notion of “basic vocabulary”, phylogenetic inferences based on this type of linguistic material have been tested and applied in the investigation of the dynamics of human population. This paper aims at contributing to the understanding of the Tupí languages and their relationships in the past, providing estimates of the degree of relatedness of the daughter languages, and motivating further studies within the family. This study can contribute to the discussion of recent hypotheses of an early binary split of the Tupí family in one western and one eastern branch (Cabral & Rodrigues 2002), shedding light on the open discussion about the original homeland of the Tupí languages. Authors: Galucio; Storto; Drude; Gabas Jr.; Meira; Moore; Picanço; Reis Rodrigues

Palabras claves: internal classification, lexicostatistics, Tupi, phylogenetics

Autores: Galucio, Ana Vilacy (Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Brazil / Brasilien)
Co-Autores: Meira, Sérgio; Reis Rodrigues,Carmen-Picanco, Gessiane; Moore, Denny; Gabas Jr., Nelson; Drude, Sebastian


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