Reconstructing Proto-Zamucoan. Evidence (mostly) from Verb inflection

Ciucci, Luca, and Bertinetto, Pier Marco (2019) Reconstructing Proto-Zamucoan. Evidence (mostly) from Verb inflection. In: Tra semantica e sintassi: il ruolo della linguistica storica. Atti del Convegno congiunto Società Italiana di Glottologia - Indogermanische Gesellschaft. pp. 27-47. From: XLII Convegno Annuale, congiunto con la Indogermanische Gesellschaft: TRA SEMANTICA E SINTASSI: IL RUOLO DELLA LINGUISTICA STORICA / Zwischen Semantik und Syntax: Die Rolle der Historischen Sprachwissenschaft, 11-14 October 2017, Verona, Italy.

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Abstract

The Zamucoan family consists of two currently spoken languages, Ayoreo (= AY) and Chamacoco (= CH), plus a language spoken in the 18th century in the Jesuit missions of south-eastern Bolivia, Old Zamuco (= OZ), of which we have the relatively detailed documentation provided by Father Ignace Chomé (see Lussagnet 1958 [= ante 1745], Ciucci 2018, Ciucci forthcoming a). Although other Zamucoan dialects/languages have existed in the past according to historical data (Hervás y Panduro 1784: 32), very little is known about them except for a few word lists. However, the whole group must have been quite small at any time. Ayoreo and Chamacoco speakers presently number approximately 4,500 and 2,000, respectively. Their traditional settlement was in the Northern Chaco lowlands, between Bolivia and Paraguay, where they used to have a seminomadic life, still pursued up to the present by a tiny group of Ayoreo. Ciucci & Bertinetto (2015, 2017) proposed a plausible reconstruction of the Proto-Zamucoan (= P-Z) person inflections in pronouns, verbs and possessable nouns (a paper on the reconstruction of nominal suffixes is in preparation). The following diagram assigns Old Zamuco and Ayoreo to the same branch of the family, as suggested by the large overlap of their lexicon. By contrast, Chamacoco (with its two dialects, Ebitoso and Tomaraho) shows no more than 30% of lexical similarity with the sister languages. The split of the two branches must therefore have occurred a long time ago, as also confirmed by the glottochronological computations of Wichmann et al. (2016). In terms of grammatical structure, however, there are several features selectively shared by Old Zamuco or Ayoreo on the one hand, and Chamacoco on the other hand. Hence, despite its tiny size, this linguistic family can be regarded as an ideal training field for reconstruction exercises. This is what this paper aims to show with specific focus on the verbal system.

Item ID: 62953
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-88-98640-40-9
Keywords: Zamucoan, Old Zamuco, Ayoreo, Proto-Zamucoan
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Proceedings of the Joint Conference | Gemeinsame ArbeitstagungItalian Society of Glottology | Indogermanische Gesellschaft

Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2020 02:03
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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