Language contact in Amazonia

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in The Languages of the Amazon

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199593569
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739385 | DOI:
Language contact in Amazonia

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This chapter starts with the definition of linguistic areas and language regions. Amazonia is contrasted with the Andean domain in terms of their linguistic features. We then turn to detailed analysis of linguistic areas in Amazonia. Of these, the linguistic area of the Vaupés River Basin is among the best known. It is characterized by obligatory multilingualism based on linguistic exogamy: one can only marry someone who speaks a different language. The Xingu Indigenous Park is a contact zone where over sixteen languages are spoken. Most other contact situations have been described for northern and southern Amazonia. Contact with national languages and linguae franche has resulted in influx of loans and language obscolescence. There is a list of further sources and readings on areal linguistic and language contact, with special reference to Amazonia

Keywords: language contact; areal diffusion; linguistic area; lingua franca; language obscolescence; multilingualism; migration

Chapter.  11647 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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