Karo is a Brazilian language spoken in the Amazon region (in Rondônia
State) by about 150 Arara Indians. Even though the Arara are in contact
with the white population since the 40's, and most of them understand
Portuguese, Karo is exclusively used for communication among themselves.
Preliminary anthropological research shows that the Arara Indians always
lived in the same region they live now, although presently they share their
reservation, the Área Indígena Igarapé de Lourdes, with the Gavião and Zoró
Indians, (speakers of a dialect of Gavião), without any linguistic
interference over each other. As is the case with the majority of the
Brazilian Indian languages, there was almost nothing known about Karo in
the past besides few wordlists published by some ethnologists
(Lévi-Strauss, 1950; Nimuendaju, 1925,1955, Rondon, 1948; and Schultz, 1955).
This thesis, thus, is meant as a contribution to the description and
documentation of Karo, specially its phonology and part of its morphology.
It is presented as follows. In Chapter 1 the phonetic segments of the
language and their patterns of occurrence are presented. By the classic
criteria for phonemicization (free variation, complementary distribution
and contrasting) an inventory of surface phonemes is then established.
Chapter 2 describes the syllabic patterns, and Chapter 3 deals with the
rules of nasalization spread. In Chapter 4 the three types of internal
sandhi found in Karo are described. Chapter 5 deals with stress. Basically,
it is shown that stress placement is predictable from three distinct
phonological factors: tone, nasality, and the onset of the last syllable of
the words. Finally, Chapter 6 is dedicated to tone. It is demonstrated that
although Karo has three phonetic tone levels, low, mid and high, only two
are contrastive, low and high. It is also described a process of tone
assimilation which is conditioned by consonantal segments.2nd printing.
(also see the LINCOM webshop: lincom.at).