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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Book Information


Title: A Grammar of Cavineña
Written By: Antoine Guillaume
URL: http://www.degruyter.de/cont/fb/sp/detailEn.cfm?id=IS-9783110188424-1
Series Title: Mouton Grammar Library [MGL] 44

This book is a detailed high-quality descriptive grammar of the endangered
Cavineña language (less than 1200 speakers), spoken in the Amazonian
rainforest of Lowland Bolivia, an area where the indigenous languages are
virtually unknown. Cavineña belongs to the Tacanan family, comprising five
languages, none of which has been the subject of an adequate descriptive

The grammar is based mostly on the extensive fieldwork conducted by the
author in traditional Cavineña communities. Cast in the
functional-typological framework, and based on natural discourse data, the
grammar presents a detailed and copiously exemplified account of most
aspects of the language, building up from basic levels (phonetic and
phonological) to higher levels (morphological and syntactic), and from
brief descriptions of each level to a more comprehensive description of the
same level in specific chapters.

The language contains a number of unusual features that will be of interest
to typologist linguists, such as an unusual pitch accent system, a
morpho-phonological rule that deletes case markers, an intricate predicate
structure, a system of verbal suffixes coding associated motion, a peculiar
prefix e that attaches to nouns coding body parts and a complex system of
second position clitic pronouns.

The grammar will also be of interest to historical-comparative linguists,
as for the first time one has sufficiently detailed grammatical information
to make possible a reliable comparison with other languages with which
Tacanan languages might be related, in particular the Panoan family, and to
serve as input into hypotheses regarding the population history of this
part of South America.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Language Documentation
Subject Language(s): Cavineña
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110188422
ISBN-13: 9783110188424
Pages: 900
Prices: Europe EURO 148.00
U.S. $ 237.00