LINGUIST List 15.2973

Wed Oct 20 2004

Books: Language Description, Kwaza: van der Voort

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        1.    Julia Ulrich, A Grammar of Kwaza: van der Voort

Message 1: A Grammar of Kwaza: van der Voort

Date: 12-Oct-2004
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: A Grammar of Kwaza: van der Voort

Title: A Grammar of Kwaza
Series Title: Mouton Grammar Library 30

Published: 2004
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Book URL:

Author: Hein van der Voort, University of Nijmegen

Hardback: ISBN: 3110178699 Pages: xxxviii, 1026 Price: Europe EURO 148.00 Comment: includes 1 CD-ROM


This work contains a comprehensive description of Kwaza, which is an
endangered and unclassified indigenous language of Southern Rondônia,
Brazil. The Kwaza language, also known in the literature as Koaiá, is
spoken by around 25 people today. Until recently, our knowledge of Kwaza
was based on only three short word lists, from 1938, 1943 and 1984. Like
the language, the culture and the history of its speakers are undocumented.
The Kwaza people as an ethnic group have been decimated by increasing
ecological, physical, social and cultural pressure from Western
civilisation since contact in the past century. This is the situation for
many indigenous peoples of Rondônia and of the Amazon region in general.
Linguists expect that the majority of these peoples will cease to exist as
distinct language communities during the coming decades.

The present work is a contribution to the documentation and preservation of
the languages of the Amazon basin. In this respect, Kwaza represents an
especially urgent case in view of its undetermined classification, the lack
of documentation and its endangered status.

This work is based on the author's personal fieldwork conducted between
1995 and 2002, and it consists of three parts. Part I contains a thorough
description of the phonology and morphosyntax of the language and a concise
overview of its social, cultural and historical context. Part II contains a
diverse selection of transcribed and translated texts with interlinear
morphological analyses. Part III is a dictionary of Kwaza, including many
examples and an English-Kwaza register. This complete description is of
interest to linguists in general, scholars of South American languages in
particular, and anthropologists and historians interested in the Guaporé

Hein van der Voort is affiliated with the Universities of Nijmegen and
Leiden in the Netherlands, and with the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi in Brazil.

Date of publication: July 2004


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Linguistic Field(s): Language Description

Subject Language(s): Kwaza (Language Code: XKWA)

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG )

See this book announcement on our website:

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