Talking to the spirits: a jungle-at-night register of the Murui people from the Northwest Amazon

Wojtylak, Katarzyna I. (2019) Talking to the spirits: a jungle-at-night register of the Murui people from the Northwest Amazon. The Mouth: critical studies on language, culture and society, 4. pp. 78-90.

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Abstract

The Murui people are located in southern Colombia (the Putumayo and Amazonas departments, Caraparaná, Igaraparaná, and Caquetá Rivers) and northern Peru (Ampiyacú and Napo Rivers) 1 Murui, with the ethnic population of approximately 2,000, is a dialect of Witoto 2, and it is currently spoken by about 1,000 people. Witoto belongs to the Witotoan language family, one of the smaller linguistic families in the Northwest Amazon, which consists of two other languages from the same geographical area: Ocaina (spoken by about 90 people) and Nonuya (a moribund language with six semi speakers) (Echeverri, Fagua, and Wojtylak forthcoming). The Witoto people form a part of a cultural area that spans the Caquetá and Putumayo River Basins (hereafter referred to as 'CP') (Wojtylak 2018, Aikhenvald forthcoming, Epps forth-coming). In the literature, the CP peoples are also known as the 'People of the Centre, an autonym that makes reference to their common origin — the Komɨmafo or the 'Hole of Humanity' (Eche-verri 1997, Agga Calderón 'Kaziya Buinaima', Wojtylak, and Echeverri 2019).3 The CP area is comprised of seven ethnolinguistic groups that belong to three distinct language families (Witotoan—Witoto [with the Murui, Mɨnɨka, Mɨka, and Nɨpode dialects], Ocaina [with Ibo'tsa and Dukaiya dialects], Nonuya; Boran—Bora [with Miraña dialect], Muinane; and Arawak—Resígaro), and the Andoke linguistic isolate. Traditionally, they were hinterland groups who inhabited remote areas away from the banks of major rivers. Having lived in close proximity to each other and being connected through trade networks, these groups have been in close contact for a lengthy period of time. They also display a certain level of cultural homogeneity, relatively different from neighboring groups. This includes shared kinship system, intermarriage, the use of drum communication, as well as common ritual activities, such as consumption of pounded coca and liquid tobacco, which is licked by men but not inhaled like among groups to the north, or smoked as among the groups to the west, east, and south (Echeverri 1997, Fagua and Seifart 2010, Wojtylak 2018, Wojtylak 2019). They also share avoidance speech styles, such as the Witoto hunting register (Wojtylak 2015).

Item ID: 59944
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2513-101X
Keywords: Murui, Witoto, intonation patterns
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 01:09
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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