Multilingualism and ethnic stereotypes: the Tariana of northwest Amazonia

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2003) Multilingualism and ethnic stereotypes: the Tariana of northwest Amazonia. Language in Society, 32 (1). pp. 1-21.

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DOI: 10.10170S0047404503321013
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Tariana is spoken by about 100 people in the multilingual area of the Vaupés basin in northwest Amazonia (Brazil). Other languages spoken in the area are members of the East Tucanoan subgroup, with its most numerous representative, the Tucano language, rapidly gaining ground as a lingua franca. Also spoken are Makú languages; Baniwa, an Arawak language spoken on the fringes of the area and closely related to Tariana; and Portuguese, the national language. The area is known for its language group exogamy and institutionalized multilingualism, with its language being the badge of identity for each group. Language choice is motivated by power relationship and by status, and there are strict rules for code-switching. Inserting bits of other languages while speaking Tariana (“code-mixing”) has different consequences that mirror existing ethnic stereotypes. Code-mixing with Tucano is considered a “language violation”; using elements of Baniwa is considered funny, while mixing different Tariana dialects implies that one “cannot speak Tariana properly.” Overusing Portuguese is associated with the negative image of an Indian who tries to be better than his peers.

Item ID: 2145
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8013
Keywords: Brazil; Amazonia; Tariana; language ideology; code-mixing; ethnic stereotypes
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Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2010 00:05
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy @ 100%
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