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Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 11:25:03 -0400 From: Edward J. Vajda <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Aymara
AUTHOR: Hardman, M. J. TITLE: Aymara SERIES: LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 35 PUBLISHER: Lincom GmbH YEAR: 2001 ISBN: 3895869759 ANNOUNCED IN: http://linguistlist.org/issues/12/12-610.html
Edward J. Vajda, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK
The book is arranged in the style of a reference grammar, with chapters progressing from an exposition of introductory historical and sociolinguistic information (ch. 1, pp. 1-10), through an explanation of the phonology (ch. 2, pp. 11-33), morphophonemics (ch. 3, 34-43), and on to topics in morphology and syntax.
Ch. 4, entitled "Overview of the structure of the Aymara grammatical system" (pp. 44-58), offers a breakdown of form classes and morpheme types and serves as introduction to the book's remaining eight chapters. Chapter 5, "Thematics" (pp. 59-72) deals with the language's rather extensive form-class changing morphology. Ch. 6 (pp. 73-99) goes over the intricate system of verbal derivational suffixes, the interplay between which gives Aymara linguistic expression much of its sophistication. Each suffix receives an individual description.
Verbal inflectional suffixes are the topic of ch. 7 (pp. 100-119). Hardmann devotes considerable space to the use of tense forms for purposes of expressing the language's important category of "data source", or evidentiality. Ch. 8 (pp. 120-161) goes into equal detail to explain the system of nominal suffixes used to express number, the opposition between human and non-human, and a variety of temporal and spatial concepts. Here too, much care is devoted to explaining the form, morphophonemics, and functioning of the individual nominal suffixes. Ch. 9 (pp. 162-169) covers what the author refers to as "independent suffixes". These are several morphemes whose occurrence is not fixed to any particular form class. The copious examples in this brief section help elucidate a category of elements that are difficult to define using simple translations. Hardeman likens their semantic force to nuances of meaning often express in languages such as English by the use of intonation (p. 162).
Chapter 10 (pp. 170-183) moves on to "sentence suffixes" -- elements added to entire clauses to express functional sentence perspective and illocutionary force of various sorts. These morphemes often interact with the "independent suffixes" described in the previous chapter. Ch. 11, entitled "syntax", (pp. 183-217), discusses the creation of complex and compound sentences. Also discussed are patterns of word order permutations, which play a minor role in the syntax compared to the language's arsenal of suffixes. The final chapter includes four sample texts, each provided with interlinear glosses and an idiomatic English translation.
There are also 13 appendixes, which add information ranging from the topics of homonyms and ambiguity in Aymara to portions of a classified vocabulary offering lists of names of the months and days of the week. There is also information here on Spanish borrowing patterns.
Published in the Lincom series "Studies in Native American Linguistics" rather than as a grammar sketch in the series "Languages of the World/Materials", this book offers comprehensive description of the language. The author is a long-time expert on Aymara, and on the Jaqi family in general, having conducted over four decades of both theoretical and practical investigation of these languages. Hardman is the founder of the Instituto Nacional de Estudios Lingüísticos in Bolivia and the Aymara Language Materials Program at the University of Florida. Much of the material in this grammar derives from the author's previously unpublished practical teaching and reference materials.
For any English speaker hoping to learn about one of South America's most widely spoken indigenous languages, there has previously been very little material available on Aymara. Accessible materials are basically limited to dissertations or brief articles on individual aspects of the language structure (listed in the bibliography on pp. 247-50), as well as a basic course designed for Peace Corps workers (Wexler 1967). Given the prior absence of a modern and accurate full-length grammar of Aymara, this book can only be welcomed as an essential reference by anyone hoping to gain true insight into one of South America's most vibrant indigenous linguistic communities. Hardman's use of a practical orthography consisting of 26 consonant phoneme symbols and 6 vowel phoneme symbols, alongside her careful exposition of the phonetic and morphophonemic realization of these sounds, makes the examples extremely easy to follow. Previous descriptions of Aymara did not do justice to the fact that the language employs only three short and three long vowel phonemes (a, i, u), each of which appears in an unusually wide variety of phonetic variants. The sociolinguistic factors underpinning the use of evidentials -- which Hardman refers to as "data source" -- is elucidated here on a level not before achieved. Likewise, Hardman links her explanation of overt person marking as based on a system of contrasts between speaker and addressee, on the one hand, and the referent's presence vs. absence with regards to the speech act, on the other (pp. 5-6) to the sociolinguistic salience of the addressee category over the other persons.
Besides presenting a detailed and lucid account of Aymara language structure, the book is replete with accurate sociolinguistic information and valuable observations about the linguistic worldview of the speakers. Readers will gain insight into Aymara substrate features in Andean Spanish and into pre-Inka influence by Jaqi languages on Quechua, an event that Hardman suggested developed during the Huari period (500-1200 AD) predating the rise of the Inca Empire. Aymara substrate features in Andean Spanish include the use of certain European tense/aspect forms to express information source (evidentiality). Pre-Columbian influence includes the adoption into Quechua of an Aymara-like triple distinction in voiceless plosives (plain, aspirated, and glottalized).
This is a key publication on a highly important regional language, spoken as a mother tongue by a numerically significant minority of the populations of both Bolivia and Peru, as well as in northernmost Chile. Aymara is likely to be the only Jaqi language that survives into the next century, since the family's other two extant members -- Jaquaru and Kawki -- are already endangered.
Wexler, Paul. 1967. Beginning Aymara: A course for English speakers. Seattle: University of Washington.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Edward J. Vajda is director of East Asian Studies and professor of
linguistics and Russian language at Western Washington University.
An editor of the journal Word, his research interests include
morphological typology and minority languages of Eurasia. He is
intensively involved in documenting and describing Ket, an isolate
spoken by a few hundred people in Central Siberia.