Arawakan Languages

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Arawakan Languages


one of the largest families of Indian languages, widespread in the northern part of South America (in the Orinoco, Rio Negro, and Amazon river basins), on the islands of the West Indies, and in southern Florida. There are up to 40 Arawakan languages forming either four or eight large subgroups depending on the system of classification. The most well-known languages are Lokono (Arawak proper), Guajiro, Island Carib, Maipuri, Achagua, Ipuriná, Taino, Piro, Mojo, Paressí. The phonological system of the Arawakan languages is of the so-called Atlantic type: although the vowel system is well-developed (six or seven phonemes), there are relatively few consonants (usually 12—14 phonemes). Their morphological structure is basically agglutinative with some tendencies toward polysynthesism. Suffixation is predominant, but prefixation (possessive prefixation in the noun, subject prefixation in the verb, preverbs, and so forth) also plays a large role. There are both prepositions and postpositions. The pronominal subject often follows the verb, and the demonstrative pronoun follows the word which is modified. There is considerable lexical divergence among the languages. The system of word formation is well developed.


Alden Mason, J. “The Languages of South American Indians,” in Handbook of South American Indians, vol. 6. Washington, D. C, 1950.
Kingsley Noble, G. Proto-Arawakan and Its Descendants. The Hague, 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
Native Arawak indians, Spanish conquistadors, African slaves, the British Navy and Dutch colonialists have all had a hand in creating the spicy stew that Curacao is today.
As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.
Dishes like rotis are influenced by Indian cooking, and jerk chicken or pork comes from the cooking of Arawak Indians who cooked in ovens under the ground.
This barbecue style goes back 1,200 years to when the Arawak Indians, the island's original inhabitants, used chilies, spices and garlic to rub into their meat and cook it slowly over a hot, wooden grate known as a barbicoa.
WHINGEING Aussies will disagree, but the barbecue originated in the Caribbean, where Arawak indians cooked chicken on racks of wooden sticks (barbacoas).
As they say on their menu, Caribbean cuisine has developed over many centuries, each island offering something different and all influenced by original Arawak Indians as well as British, Spanish, French, Dutch, African, East Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern flavours.
the island supported a small community of Arawak Indians, and later, in 1694, Danish settlers arrived on the island, attracted by the opportunity to cultivate sugar cane.
The peace-loving Arawak Indians had settled there some three thousand years before, in their migration away from the South American continent and persecution at the hands of the marauding Carib tribes.
The home of reggae music is the third largest Caribbean island and was inhabited by Arawak Indians when Columbus arrived in 1494 and named it St Iago.
Jerk" is the process of poking holes and cutting strips into the meat to allow for various spices to be absorbed, originally as a way of preserving food when Arawak Indians populated Jamaica.
Directed by Sylvia Soumah, Coyaba Dance Theater's work is based on the traditional ceremonial dances of the West Indies' indigenous Arawak Indians.
A physician on the expedition that brought Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean observed the Arawak Indians using capsicums as both a spice and medicine.