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mar. 15/05/2018 Atelier "Histoire et Ecologie des Langues": Gessiane Picanço (Universidade Federal do Pará / Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage)

Proto-Mundurukú and the Diachronic Phonology of Mundurukú
ISH-Ennat Leger

This talk addresses the research project «The Diachronic Phonology of Mundurukú», which aims at reconstructing the history of the Mundurukú language family, by comparing Mundurukú and Kuruaya, as well as examining the changes in the sound system of Mundurukú over a period of time. Mundurukú is one of the 10 families of the Tupí linguistic stock that consists of two languages: Mundurukú and Kuruaya (Rodrigues 1970). The Mundurukú population totals approximately 13,000 people; from these, 8,845 Mundurukú live on indigenous reserves lands, mostly in the federal states of Pará and Amazonas, North region of Brazil. Mundurukú is very much alive in Pará, whereas in Amazonas there are only five elderly speakers; yet, efforts have been made recently to revive the language with help from Pará speakers. The sister language Kuruaya, formerly spoken along the Upper Xingu river, is now extinct.

Preliminary historical changes were pointed out by Picanço (2005, 2008, 2010). These works discuss specific changes in the consonant inventory, nasal harmony and phonation types. By the research proposed here, we intend not only to deepen our understanding of the issues studied previously, but also to extend the analysis to the entire phonemic inventory (vowels and consonants), the tonal system, other phonological and morphophonological phenomena (e.g., lenition of initial consonants), and to the reconstruction of the maximum number of lexical items. A considerable amount of comparative data on these languages has been considered, including recordings from the last three Kuruaya speakers, and from one of the last Mundurukú speakers of Amazonas, in addition to wordlists from earlier works (e.g. Nimuendajú, 1930; Snethlage, 1910).

Nimuendajú, von Curt. 1930. Zur Sprache der Kuruaya-Indianer. Journal de Société des Américanistes Vol. 22, pp. 317-345.
Picanço, Gessiane. 2005. Munduruku: Phonetics, Phonology, Synchrony, Diachrony. PhD thesis, University of British Columbia, Canada.
Picanço, Gessiane. 2008. The development of creaky voice in Mundurukú. In: BISOL, L.; BRESCANCINI, C. R. (orgs.), Contemporary Phonology in Brazil. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 288-314.
Picanço, Gessiane. 2010. A Reconstruction of Nasal Harmony in Proto-Mundurukú (Tupi). IJAL, Vol. 76, N. 4, pp. 411-438.
Rodrigues, Aryon D. 1970. Línguas Ameríndias. Grande Enciclopédia Delta-Larousse: 4034-4036. Rio de Janeiro: Delta.
Snethlage, Emilia. 1910. A travessia entre o Xingú e o Tapajoz. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi Vol. 7.


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