Tucanoan Languages

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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.


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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The linguist Arthur Sorensen (1967, 1973) identified 13 languages as members of the Eastern Tukanoan language family: Wanano, Tukano, Tuyuca, Yuruti, Paneroa, Eduria, Karapana, Tatuyo, Barasana, Piratapuyo, Desano, Siriano, and Cubeo.
In the case of Eastern Tukanoan language learning, mother's language acquisition is "natural" or spontaneous insofar as it is embedded in everyday routine and is free from systematic guidance or intentional intervention.
In the shift in dominance of one Tukanoan language over another, the extent of interference by means of direct instruction plays an increasingly significant role.
Exemplifying the important point that child's language development is shaped by cultural factors (Ochs 1982; 1988), Tukanoan language learning reverses the tendency by the infant to identify with the language of affect, the language of mother.
It distances and separates, at an early age, that which is mother, from that which is self As the alignment of like and unlike self is established in the course of Tukanoan language acquisition, mother becomes quintessential "Other.
Abstract: This paper considers language acquisition within the greater context of gender-associated norms and practices among Amerindian speakers of Eastern Tukanoan languages in the northwest Amazon, where descent and language are viewed as manifestations of one another.
For speakers of Eastern Tukanoan languages in the northwest Amazon, language is not only a symbol matrix; it is itself a symbol, a marker of identity and descent.
Speakers of Eastern Tukanoan languages regard themselves as descended from ancestral brothers born of the segmented body of a primordial anaconda.
In spite of the fact that Eastern Tukanoan languages may be less closely related than languages of the Romance or Scandinavian groups (Sorensen 1967), it is likely that the Eastern Tukanoan languages have more than a few shared features.
For speakers of Eastern Tukanoan languages, emotional alliance shifts in the course of language acquisition and development.