Languages of the Amazon

Paperback | February 13, 2015

byAlexandra Y. Aikhenvald

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This is the first guide and introduction to the extraordinary range of languages in Amazonia, which include some of the most the most fascinating in the world and many of which are now teetering on the edge of extinction. Alexandra Aikhenvald, one of the world's leading experts on the region,provides an account of the more than 300 languages. She sets out their main characteristics, compares their common and unique features, and describes the histories and cultures of the people who speak them.The languages abound in rare features. Most have been in contact with each other for many generations, giving rise to complex patterns of linguistic influence. The author draws on her own extensive field research to tease out and analyse the patterns of their genetic and structural diversity. Sheshows how these patterns reveal the interrelatedness of language and culture; different kinship systems, for example, have different linguistic correlates. Professor Aikhenvald explains the many unusual features of Amazonian languages, which include evidentials, tones, classifiers, and elaboratepositional verbs. She ends the book with a glossary of terms, and a full guide for those readers interested in following up a particular language or linguistic phenomenon.The book is free of esoteric terminology, written in its author's characteristically clear style, and brought vividly to life with numerous accounts of her experience in the region. It may be used as a resource in courses in Latin American studies, Amazonian studies, linguistic typology, and generallinguistics, and as reference for linguistic and anthropological research.

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This is the first guide and introduction to the extraordinary range of languages in Amazonia, which include some of the most the most fascinating in the world and many of which are now teetering on the edge of extinction. Alexandra Aikhenvald, one of the world's leading experts on the region,provides an account of the more than 300 lan...

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Distinguished Professor, Australian Laureate Fellow, and Director of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University. She is a major authority on languages of the Arawak family, from northern Amazonia, and has written grammars of Bare (1995) and Warekena (1998), plus A Grammar of Tariana, f...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:548 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 1.15 inPublished:February 13, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198723016

ISBN - 13:9780198723011

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Table of Contents

1. Languages of the Amazon: a bird's eye view2. Language contact in Amazonia3. The sounds of Amazonia4. Building words5. The multifaceted noun6. The versatile verb7. Who does what to whom: grammatical relations8. Changing valency9. How to know things: evidentials in Amazonia10. Reflecting the world around: genders, noun classes, and classifiers11. 'We can't say it with one word': multiverb constructions12. Putting a sentence together13. The art of speech14. Finale: the treasures of Amazonian languagesGlossary of termsReferencesIndex of authorsIndex of languages, linguistic families, and areasIndex of subjects

Editorial Reviews

"A very lucid introduction to a truly fascinating group of languages" --P. H. Matthews