LINGUIST List 26.3059

Mon Jun 29 2015

Diss: Salivan, Maco, Piaroa, Sáliba; Genetic Classification, Historical Ling, Lang Doc: Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada: 'The Mako Language: Vitality, Grammar and Classification'

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 26-Jun-2015
From: Jorge Rosés Labrada <>
Subject: The Mako Language: Vitality, Grammar and Classification
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Institution: University of Western Ontario
Program: French Studies (Linguistics)
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2015

Author: Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada

Dissertation Title: The Mako Language: Vitality, Grammar and Classification

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Genetic Classification
Historical Linguistics
Language Documentation

Subject Language(s): Maco (wpc)
Piaroa (pid)
Sáliba (slc)

Language Family(ies): Salivan

Dissertation Director(s):
David J. Heap
Tania Granadillo
Françoise Rose

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation focuses on the documentation and description of Mako, an indigenous language spoken in the Venezuelan Amazon by about 1,200 people and for which the only available published material at the start of this project were 38 words. The project creates a collection of annotated ethnographic texts and a grammar that could serve as a starting point for both language maintenance in the community and for further linguistic research.
Additionally, the project assesses the language’s vitality in the communities where it is spoken and demonstrates the relationship of Mako to the two other extant Sáliban languages, namely Piaroa and Sáliba.

This research thus includes an assessment of language vitality in the Mako communities of the Ventuari River, a comprehensive description of the Mako language—heretofore undescribed—, and an evaluation of the genetic
relationship between the three Sáliban languages. The description of the language covers a wide range of topics in areas such as phonetics and phonology, nominal and verbal morphology, and syntax of both simple and
complex sentences. Discourse-level morphology and discourse-organization strategies are also covered. Aside from facilitating the study of other members of the Sáliban family and the reconstruction of the common ancestral language, the description of Mako also contributes to the typology of Amazonian languages and to our understanding of the pre-history of this area of the Orinoco basin. The products of this project also have the potential to
be mobilized in language literacy efforts in the Mako communities.

Page Updated: 29-Jun-2015