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The endangered Tariana, the only Arawak language of the Vaupes River Basin, north-west Amazon, Brazil: a corpus of audio recordings and stories


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The endangered Tariana, the only Arawak language of the Vaupes River Basin, north-west Amazon, Brazil: a corpus of audio recordings and stories
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Geospatial Location
  • Northwest Amazon, Brazil.
  1. Type: brief

    Tariana is an endangered Arawak language from north-west Amazon. It is spoken by c.70 people in two villages on the Vaupes River, north-west Amazonia, Brazil. The Tariana language belongs to the Arawak language family (see Arawak Languages). It is spoken by about 100 people in the multilingual linguistic area of the Vaupe´s River Basin (northwest Amazonia, Brazil). This area is known (Aikhenvald, 2002b; Sorensen, 1967) for its multilingual exogamy: one can only marry someone who speaks a different language and belongs to a different tribe. People usually say: ‘My brothers are those who share a language with me’ and ‘We don’t marry our sisters.’ The other languages in this area belong to the Tucanoan family, and they are still spoken by a fair number of people. The basic rule of language choice throughout the Vaupe´s area is that one should speak the interlocutor’s own language. Descent is strictly patrilineal, and consequently, one identifies with one’s father’s language group. There is a strong cultural inhibition against ‘language-mixing,’ viewed in terms of lexical loans. In its grammatical and semantic structure, Tariana combines a number of features inherited from proto-Arawak, with the areal influences from Tucanoan in the form of grammatical calques and diffused patterns.

  2. Type: full

    The corpus of Tariana collected by Alexandra (Sacha) Aikhenvald, also known as Kumatharo, consists of over forty hours of recordings and over 1000 pages of stories told by speakers of all ages. Some stories are presented here. The dataset consists of: information about the Tariana language; a selection of papers on Tariana (pdf); a Tariana dictionary (pdf); some pictures (jpg); maps (pdf); Pedagogical materials in Tariana, a selection of materials in use by the Escola Indígena Tariana (Iauaretê, Amazonas, Brasil), under the current leadership of Rafael Brito (pdf); and recorded Tariana stories. The recorded Tariana stories and other sound files are restricted. If you would like to listen to them, e-mail Pode tambem entrar em contato com o Rafael Brito []‎ ou Jose Luis Brito [].

Related Publications
  1. Aikhenvald, A.Y. (2006) Tariana. In: Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. Elsevier, Oxford, UK, pp. 506-507.
  2. Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2006) Complement clause types and complementation strategies in Tariana. In: Complementation: a cross-linguistic perspective. Explorations In Linguistic Typology . Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 178-203. ISBN 978-0-19-929787-0 Item availability restricted.
  3. Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2011) Le tariana. In: Dictionnaire des langues. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, France, pp. 1483-1488. ISBN 978-2-13-056914-5 Item availability restricted.
  4. Aikhenvald, Alexandra (2010) Language contact and pragmatic notions: Tariana in its multilingual context. In: Information Structure in Indigenous Languages of the Americas: Syntactic Approaches. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 225, 225 . De Gruyter Mouton , Berlin, Germany, pp. 17-38. ISBN 978-3-11-022852-6
Related Websites
    The Tariana Language of Northwestern Brazil
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  1. Managed by: Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald , Faculty of Arts, Education & Social Sciences, Cairns Institute
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Fields of Research
  1. 200407 - Lexicography (200407) (200407)
Socio-Economic Objective
  1. 950201 - Communication Across Languages and Culture (950201) (950201)
  1. arawak language
  2. tariana language
  3. northwest amazon
  4. Brazil
Research Activity
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Research Themes
People and Societies in the Tropics
CC BY: Attribution 3.0 AU
License - Other
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Access Rights/Conditions
Open Access . If the data is not available via the provided link, please contact an associated party (preferrably the Manager as specified) for access.
This dataset is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australian licence
Data Location
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The Cairns Institute, Language and Culture Research Centre Room 243A, Level 2, Building A4 McGregor Rd, Smithfield QLD, PO Box 6811, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia, Phone: +61 7 4042 1718 or +61 7 4042 1887, Fax: +61 7 4042 1880
Aikhenvald, Alexandra. (2012). The endangered Tariana, the only Arawak language of the Vaupes River Basin, north-west Amazon, Brazil: a corpus of audio recordings and stories. James Cook University. (dataset).