Tucanoan Languages

(redirected from Tucanoan language)

Tucanoan Languages

 

a family of American Indian languages spoken by tribes inhabiting three regions of South America: (1) in the Uaupés, Tiquié, Apáporis, Miriti Paraná, and Ja-purá river basins in southeastern Colombia and northwestern Brazil; (2) in northeastern Peru (Loreto Department), northeastern Ecuador (Napo and Pastaza provinces), and southern Colombia (Caquetáa Department and neighboring regions); (3) at the source of the Manacacias River (Meta Department in central Colombia).

According to the preliminary classification of the Spanish scholar A. Tovar Llórente, the Tucanoan language family is subdivided into a number of branches. In the first of the areas mentioned above, the Tucanoan languages are represented by the Tucano-Tuyuka languages (Tucano, Tuyuka, Bara, Piratapuyo, Karapana [Carapaná], and others), the Desana languages (Desana and Coretu), the Kubeo (Cubeo) language, and the Buha-gana and Yahuna languages. The Choquesiona languages (Siona, Coto, Icaguahe, and several extinct languages) and the Piojé-Siona languages are found in the second area, and the Tama language in the third zone.

The Tucanoan languages have been poorly described. Judging from a description of the Siona language, grammatical meanings are expressed by agglutinated suffixes, animate and inanimate nouns have a clear morphological opposition, and masculine and feminine gender categories exist. In the Uaupés and Tiquié river basins, each of the Tucano-Tuyuka and Desana languages (and also the local Arawakan and Cariban languages) is assigned to a separate exogamous marriage class and serves as a distinctive feature of this class. Tucano is used as a lingua franca in the northwestern part of the Amazon basin.

REFERENCES

Elson, B. F. Studies in Ecuadorian Indian Languages, 1. Norman, Okla., 1962.
Giacone, A. Gramática, dicionários e fraseología da lingua Dahceié ou Tucano. Belém, 1965.
Jackson, J. “Language Identity of the Colombian Vaupés Indians.” In Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking. Cambridge, Mass., 1974.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Desano (Miller 1999), a Tucanoan language spoken in Colombia, goes one step further.
A case in point is the SR system of Guanano (Tucanoan), which contrasts implicit and explicit chains, only the latter being morphologically marked--a pattern found in Eastern Tucanoan languages. The appearance of an explicit marker is determined by the identity of the subjects of two verbs, but crucially also by whether the events overlap in time or are successive.
Tucanoan languages, finally, may have passive morphology (Barnes 1999: 213), as well as a pronominal gender system (ibid.
For instance, we can compare must and inferential evidentials from the Eastern Tucanoan language Tuyuca (Barnes 1984).
The only thing non-specialists in Tucanoan languages have to go on is the English translation and additional explanation provided in Barnes (1984).