11964 - Arawakan linguistic inheritance vs. areal influence: A case study on Resígaro

This paper identifies linguistic and cultural features of Resígaro that are shared with related Arawakan languages from the same region, such as Baniwa, Tariana, Yukuna, and Kawiyarí, and other, more distant, Arawakan languages. This set of features is contrasted with a set of linguistic and cultural features of Resígaro that are shared with neighbouring, non-related languages, such as Bora, Muinane, Witoto, and Ocaina. From this comparison a historical scenario can be inferred in which Resígaros arrived in the not-too-distant past in their current territory which was already occupied by Boras (and possibly to some extent Muinanes Witotos, and Ocainas), where they experienced a pressure to culturally assimilate, and became widely bilingual in Bora (and maybe some of the other languages). A cultural ideology of avoidance of lexical borrowing (which is strict, but not as strict as in the neighbouring Vaupés region), has led to wide-spread contact-induced grammatical changes in Resígaro, including morphological borrowing, while at the same time, lexical borrowing is very limited. The latter serves to highlight the Resígaros' identity in the ceremonial exchange systems exercised by Boras, Muinanes, Witotos, and Ocainas.

Keywords: Arawakan, areal diffusion, North West Amazon

Author: Seifart, Frank (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany / Deutschland)


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