(redirected from Guaicuruan languages)
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a group of closely related languages, including Toba and Mocovi; Mbaya (Caduveo); the extinct languages Abipon and Payagua (Lengua), which disappeared in the 19th and 20th centuries; and several other languages in northern Argentina (Chaco, Santa Fé), Paraguay, and the neighboring regions of Brazil and Bolivia. American linguists (J. Greenberg, McQuown) group Guaycuruan together with Lule-Vilelan, Mataco-Mataguayo, Pano, and so on in the Pa-noan family. The Guaycuruan languages have simple vowel systems (five or six vowels), and the consonant systems are characterized by uvular k and g (separate phonemes), palatals (l, etc.), and the glottal stop. In Abipon, consonant clusters (including those in word-initial and word-final position) are relatively numerous; in Toba and the other languages, there are few consonant clusters and syllables are primarily open. The categories of gender (masculine and feminine— manifested in adjectival forms) and personal possession (“my son.” “thy son,” etc.) are inherent in the noun. Case meanings are expressed analytically. The verb is marked for the person and number of the subject and object and has tenses and derived verb stems (cohortative, reflexive, etc.). Inflection is accomplished by means of numerous prefixes and suffixes, some of which have allomorphs depending on the root. In the Mbaya language the grammar and vocabulary of adult male speech differ substantially from that of women’s and children’s speech.


Tebboth, T. “Diccionario toba.” Revista del Instituto de antropología, Tucuman. 1943, vol. 3, no. 2.
Najlis, E. Lengua abipona, vols. 1–2. Buenos Aires, 1966.
Lafón Quevedo, S. A. “Vocabulario mocoví-espanol.” Revista del Museo de la Plata, 18%, vol. 6.
Balmori. C. H. Estudios de area lingüística indígena. Buenos Aires, 1967.
Current Anthropology, 1960. vol. 1. (Articles by J. Greenberg and others.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.