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LINGUIST List 22.3277

Wed Aug 17 2011

Diss: Anthropological Linguistics: Coler: 'A Grammatical ...'

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        1.     Matt Coler , A Grammatical Description of Muylaq' Aymara

Message 1: A Grammatical Description of Muylaq' Aymara
Date: 04-Aug-2011
From: Matt Coler <matt.colergmail.com>
Subject: A Grammatical Description of Muylaq' Aymara
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Institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program: Faculty of Letters
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Matt Coler

Dissertation Title: A Grammatical Description of Muylaq' Aymara

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
Language Documentation

Language Family(ies): Aymaran

Dissertation Director(s):
Willem Adelaar
Leo Wetzels
Frans Hinskens

Dissertation Abstract:

Although Aymara is widely spoken by over a million people, linguistic
descriptions rely on data generally gathered in population centers in La Paz,
Bolivia and Puno, Peru. Accordingly, little is known about the extent of
linguistic diversity existent in more isolated areas. In not taking into account
the true variety of linguistic diversity, research into Aymara risks overlooking
aspects of the language which may enlighten researchers with information
attesting to evidence of contact, isolation, and language change which, when
taken as a whole, forms part of the fabric of Andean history.

This work offers a comprehensive organization of linguistic data from a
heretofore undocumented variety of this language, Muylaq' Aymara, demonstrating
that the amount of variation within this language runs deeper than previously
believed. This Aymara variant is spoken in the village of Muylaque, located on
the Peruvian altiplano in the district of San Cristobal de Calacoa in Mariscal
Nieto province, Moquegua. The decreasing number of speakers not only of this
singular variant, but of the similar ones spoken in the nearby villages, gives
the work a degree of urgency. The abrupt end to the ideal conditions which
preserved the language hastens its demise.

Over a period of three years, data was gathered in the field with a Zoom H2
digital recorder. The method for accumulating the speech varied, but overall
focused on recording narratives, myths, and legends. This was performed so as to
maximize high-quality, natural data from the oldest speakers in the community.
Recorded material was transcribed, glossed, and translated in a laborious
process carried out jointly with the speakers themselves whenever possible to
ensure the greatest accuracy possible. Once divided into interlinear glosses,
the data was categorized by morpheme type and structure and then stored in a
cross-referenced searchable database. Upon reaching an appropriate size, the
linguistic data was then organized into the present description.

Although the overwhelming majority of the linguistic data was recorded in situ,
extended periods of these recordings were unsuitable for phonetic analysis owing
to the high level of background and ambient noise. In May 2010, the chief
linguistic consultant was flown up from Peru to France where, together with a
team of experts, recordings were made to document a variety of phonetic and
phonological observations.

This description is divided into four chapters: (1) Introduction; (2) Phonology;
(3) Morphology; (4) Syntax. The third chapter, Morphology, is subdivided into
Nominal Morphology, Verbal Morphology, Transpositional Morphology, Independent
Suffixes, and Sentence Suffixes. There are also appendices which give
interlinear glosses for several narratives. The research suggests that Aymara
should be seen as a group of varieties and dialects.

In providing this grammatical description it is hoped that a greater
understanding of the Aymara varieties will shed light on the structure of this
complex language and Aymara as a whole.

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