Ticuna language

Last updated
Tïcuna
Duüxügu
Native to Brazil, Colombia, Peru
RegionWest Amazonas. Also spoken in Colombia, Peru.
Ethnicity Ticuna people
Native speakers
47,000 (1998–2008) [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tca
Glottolog ticu1245
Ticuna language.png
Distribution of speakers of the Ticuna language
Coordinates: 3°15′S68°35′W / 3.250°S 68.583°W / -3.250; -68.583

Ticuna, or Tikuna, is a language spoken by approximately 50,000 people in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. It is the native language of the Ticuna people. Ticuna is generally classified as a language isolate, but may be related to the extinct Yuri language (see Tïcuna-Yuri) and there has been some research indicating similarities between Ticuna and Carabayo. [2] [3] It is a tonal language, and therefore the meaning of words with the same phonemes can vary greatly simply by changing the tone used to pronounce them.

Contents

Tïcuna is also known as Magta, Maguta, Tucuna/Tukuna, and Tukna.

Sociolinguistic situation

Brazil

Despite being home to more than 50% of the Ticunas, Brazil has only recently started to invest in native language education. Brazilian Ticunas now have a written literature and an education provided by the Brazilian National Foundation for the Indian (FUNAI) and the Ministry of Education. Textbooks in Ticuna are used by native teachers trained in both Portuguese and Ticuna to teach the language to the children. A large-scale project has been recording traditional narrations and writing them down to provide the literate Ticunas with some literature to practice with.

Ticuna education is not a privilege, but part of a wider project carried on by the Brazilian government to provide all significant minorities with education in their own language.

In 2012, the Brazilian government launched an educational campaign for the prevention of AIDS and violence against women, the first such campaign in Brazil ever conducted in an indigenous language. [4]

Peru

Ticunas in Peru have had native language education at least since the 1960s. They use a writing system that was, apparently, the base for the development of the Brazilian one. However, much of the literature available to Peruvian Ticunas comprise standard textbooks.

Colombia

Colombian Ticunas are taught in Spanish, when they have access to school at all. Since the establishment of Ticuna schools in Brazil some have ventured to attend them [ citation needed ].

Christian Ministries

A number of Christian ministries have reached the Ticuna people. These ministries have translated the bible into the native Ticuna language and even have a weekday radio show that is broadcast in Ticuna, Portuguese, and Spanish by the Latin American Ministries (LAM). [5]

Literacy

Besides its use at the Ticuna schools, the language has a dozen books published every year, both in Brazil and Peru. Those books employ a specially devised phonetic writing system using conventions similar to those found in Portuguese (except for K instead of C and the letter Ñ instead of NH) instead of the more complex scientific notation found, for instance, at the Language Museum.

In school Ticuna is taught formally. Children in schools typically in areas of Catholic Missionaries are also taught either Portuguese or Spanish as well. [6]

Linguistic structure

Ticuna is a fairly isolating language morphologically, meaning that most words consist of just one morpheme. However, Ticuna words usually have more than one syllable, unlike isolating languages such as Vietnamese. Ticuna is an unusually tonal language for South America, with five level tones and four contour tones. Tones are only indicated orthographically, with diacritics, when confusion is likely. The six vowels may be nasal or laryngealized; consonants may also be glottalized. Glottal stop is spelled x, and the sixth vowel ü. Typologically, Ticuna word order is subject–verb–object (SVO), though unusually this can vary within the language.

Research has indicated isolated tonal languages with complex tones are more likely to occur in regions of higher humidity and higher mean average temperature because it is believed the vocal folds can produce less consistent tones in colder, drier air. Ticuna was one of the languages of focus in this study due to its prevalence—and complexity—of tones. [7]

Classification

Some have tentatively associated the Ticuna language within the proposals of the macro-arawakano or with macro-tukano stocks, although these classifications are highly speculative given the lack of evidence. A more recent hypothesis has linked Yuri-Ticuna with the Saliban and Hoti languages in the Duho stock. [8] However, the linguistic consensus is that Ticuna may actually be a language isolate in its present-day situation, since Yuri is extinct.

Phonology

Vowels qualities are /a e i ɨ u o/. Vowels may be nasalized and/or show creaky voice, under which tones are lowered. [9] There are diphthongs /ai̯/ and /au̯/ that carry a single tone, contrasting with vowel sequences /ai/ and /au/ that carry two tones.

Oral and nasalized vowels and creaky voiced
FrontCentralBack
Close/i/, /ḭ/ /ĩ/, /ḭ̃//ɨ/, /ɨ̰/, /ɨ̃/, /ɨ̰̃//u/, /ṵ/, /ũ/, /ṵ̃/
Mid/e/, /ḛ/, /ẽ/, /ḛ̃//o/, /o̰/, /õ/, /õ̰/
Open/a/, /a̰/, /ã/, /ã̰/

Long vowels do not occur, but sequences of identical vowels (such as aa) that carry two tones. Tones are /˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˩ ˥˩ ˦˩ ˧˩ ˦˧/. Tones in spoken Ticuna are not related to an absolute pitch, but rather by the relative difference in pitch. [6]

The consonants of Ticuna consist of the following phonemes: [9]

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop p, bt, dk, ɡʔ
Affricate tʃ, dʒ
Fricative (f)s(x)
Nasal mnɲŋ
Liquid l, ɾ
Glide wj

Ticuna has no lateral or uvular consonants. [9]

The affricate /dʒ/ (spelled "y") may be pronounced as /ɟ/, [10] and also /j/, but only before the vowel /a/. A /ɯ/ vowel sound may also be pronounced as a central /ɨ/ sound. /f s x l/ are found in Spanish loans.

Common words [11]

Ticuna WordMeaning
WüxiOne
TaxreTwo
TomaxixpüThree
ÃgümücüFour
Wüxi mixepüxFive
Naixmixwa rü wüxiSix
Naixmixwa rü taxreSeven
Naixmixwa rü tomaxixpüEight
Naixmixwa rü ãgümücüNine
GuxmixepüxTen
ChatüMan
NgexüiWoman
AiruDog
IakeSun
TawēmakeMoon
DexáWater

The counting words in Ticuna imply a base five system of counting as the word for five is the combination of "one five". Six through nine all contain the same beginning "naixmixwa rü" and then append the values for one through four respectively (such that six is "naixmixwa rü" and "wüxi" meaning one). [11]

Examples of spoken language

An example of spoken Ticuna can be found here. [12]

Phrase [13] Meaning
Nuxmaxē pa corixgeneral greeting spoken to a man ("sir")
Nuxmaxē pa chiuraxgeneral greeting spoken to a woman ("madam")
Nuxmaxē pa yimaxgeneral greeting spoken to a man ("fellow")
Nuxmaxē pa woxrecügeneral greeting spoken to a woman ("girl")
Nuxmaxē pa pacüxgeneral greeting spoken to a young woman ("miss")
Nuxmaxē pa chomücüxgeneral greeting spoken to a friend
Nuxmaxgeneral greeting spoken to a stranger
Ngexta cuxū?Where are you going? (spoken to one person)
Ngexta pexī?Where are you going? (spoken to a group)
Ngexta ne cuxū?Where are you coming from? (spoken to one person)
Ngexta ne pexī?Where are you coming from? (spoken to a group)

Vocabulary (Loukotka 1968)

Loukotka (1968) lists the following basic vocabulary items. [14]

glossTucuna
onewöi
twotádi
threetamaípo
headna-eró
earna-chin
toothná-puita
manyáte
fireöo
sunöake
earthnáni
maizecháwue
tapirnáke

Related Research Articles

Hausa language Chadic language spoken by the Hausa people

Hausa is a Chadic language spoken by the Hausa people, the largest native ethnic group in Africa, mainly within the territories of Niger and the northern half of Nigeria, and with significant minorities in Ghana, Sudan, and Cameroon.

Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning – that is, to distinguish or to inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information and to convey emphasis, contrast, and other such features in what is called intonation, but not all languages use tones to distinguish words or their inflections, analogously to consonants and vowels. Languages that do have this feature are called tonal languages; the distinctive tone patterns of such a language are sometimes called tonemes, by analogy with phoneme. Tonal languages are common in East and Southeast Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas; as many as seventy percent of world languages may be tonal.

Glottal stop Sound made by stopping airflow in the glottis

The glottal plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages, produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract or, more precisely, the glottis. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʔ⟩.

Indigenous languages of the Americas Languages spoken by people indigenous to the Americas

Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska, Nunavut, and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses that constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families, as well as many language isolates and unclassified languages.

The Ket language, or more specifically Imbak and formerly known as Yenisei Ostyak, is a Siberian language long thought to be an isolate, the sole surviving language of a Yeniseian language family. It is spoken along the middle Yenisei basin by the Ket people.

Mandinka language

The Mandinka language or Mandingo, is a Mande language spoken by the Mandinka people of Guinea, northern Guinea-Bissau, the Casamance region of Senegal, and in The Gambia where it is one of the principal languages.

Kusaal, or Kusasi (Qusasi), is a Gur language spoken primarily in northern Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo. It is spoken by over 700,000 people and takes its name from the Kusasi people, who form the majority of the population of the area in the far northeast of Ghana, between the Gambaga escarpment, the Red Volta, and the national borders with Togo and Burkina Faso. There are some villages of Kusaasi in Burkina and also a few speakers in Togo. Kusaal is closely related to Mampruli, the language of the Mamprussi, who live to the south, and to Dagbani. There is a major dialect division between Agole, to the east of the White Volta river, and Toende, to the West. Agole has more speakers, and the only large town of the district, Bawku, is in Agole. The New Testament translation is in the Agole dialect.

Jukude, commonly known as Maku or Mako, is an unclassified language once spoken on the Brazil–Venezuela border in Roraima along the upper Uraricoera and lower Auari rivers, west of Boa Vista, by the Jukudeitse. 300 years ago, the Jukude territory was between the Padamo and Cunucunuma rivers to the southeast.

Páez is a language of Colombia, spoken by the Páez people. Crevels (2011) estimates 60,000 speakers out of an ethnic population of 140,000.

Bora is an indigenous language of South America spoken in the western region of Amazon rainforest. Bora is a tonal language which, other than the Ticuna language, is a unique trait in the region.

This article is about the sound system of the Navajo language. The phonology of Navajo is intimately connected to its morphology. For example, the entire range of contrastive consonants is found only at the beginning of word stems. In stem-final position and in prefixes, the number of contrasts is drastically reduced. Similarly, vowel contrasts found outside of the stem are significantly neutralized. For details about the morphology of Navajo, see Navajo grammar.

Movima is a language that is spoken by about 1,400 of the Movima, a group of Native Americans that resides in the Llanos de Moxos region of the Bolivian Amazon, in northeastern Bolivia. It is considered a language isolate, as it has not been proven to be related to any other language.

Ticuna–Yuri is a small family, perhaps even a dialect continuum, consisting of at least two, and perhaps three, known languages of South America: the major western Amazonian language Ticuna, the poorly attested and extinct Yurí, and the scarcely known language of the largely uncontacted Carabayo. Kaufman also adds Munichi to the family.

Yurí (Jurí) is, or was, a language previously spoken near a stretch of the Caquetá River in the Brazilian Amazon, extending slightly into Colombia. It was spoken on the Puré River of Colombia, and the Içá River and Japurá River of Brazil.

The phonology of Burmese is fairly typical of a Southeast Asian language, involving phonemic tone or register, a contrast between major and minor syllables, and strict limitations on consonant clusters.

Fulniô language

Fulniô, or Yatê, is a language isolate of Brazil, and the only indigenous language remaining in the northeastern part of that country. The two dialects, Fulniô and Yatê, are very close. The Fulniô dialect is used primarily during a three-month religious retreat. Today, the language is spoken in Águas Belas, Pernambuco.

The Carabayo (Caraballo) language is spoken by the Carabayo people, also known as Yuri and Aroje, an uncontacted Amazonian people of Colombia living in at least three long houses, one of several suspected uncontacted peoples living along the Rio Puré in the southeastern corner of the country. They are known as the Aroje to the Bora people. Maku and Macusa are pejorative Arawak terms applied to many local languages, not anything specific to Carabayo. The name "Carabayo" is taken from a mock name, "Bernardo Caraballo", given to a Carabayo man during his captivity in the Capuchin mission at La Pedrera in 1969. It has been reported that their self-designation is Yacumo.

Ticuna Indigenous people of Brazil

The Ticuna are an indigenous people of Brazil (36,000), Colombia (6,000), and Peru (7,000). They are the most numerous tribe in the Brazilian Amazon.

Tampuan is the language of Tampuan people indigenous to the mountainous regions of Ratanakiri Province in Cambodia. As of the 2008 census there were 31,000 speakers, which amounts to 21% of the province's population. It is closely related to Bahnar and Alak, the three of which form the Central Bahnaric language grouping within the Mon-Khmer language family according to traditional classification. Sidwell's more recent classification groups Tampuan on an equal level with Bahnar and the South Bahnaric languages in a larger Central Bahnar group. The Tampuan language has no native writing. EMU International began linguistic research in 1995 and produced an alphabet using Khmer letters. The alphabet was further refined by linguists from International Cooperation for Cambodia (ICC) and the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MOEYS). The modified Khmer script was approved by MOEYS in 2003 for use in bilingual education programs for Tampuan implemented by ICC, UNESCO, and CARE.

Indigenous languages of South America

The indigenous languages of South America are those whose origin dates back to the pre-Columbian era. The subcontinent has great linguistic diversity, but, as the number of speakers of indigenous languages is diminishing, it is estimated that it could become one of the least linguistically diverse regions of the planet.

References

  1. Tïcuna at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. "Linking Isolated Languages: Linguistic Relationships of the Carabayo".
  3. Seifart, Frank; Echeverri, Juan Alvaro (2014-04-16). "Evidence for the Identification of Carabayo, the Language of an Uncontacted People of the Colombian Amazon, as Belonging to the Tikuna-Yurí Linguistic Family". PLOS ONE. 9 (4): e94814. Bibcode:2014PLoSO...994814S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094814. ISSN   1932-6203. PMC   3989239 . PMID   24739948.
  4. Associated Press (2012-10-11). "Brazilian government uses indigenous language for the first time in anti-AIDS campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  5. "Latin American Ministries - Project Ticuna".
  6. 1 2 "Ticuna Indigenous Trive in Brazil and Colombia".
  7. Everett, Caleb; et al. (February 3, 2015). "Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (5): 1322–7. Bibcode:2015PNAS..112.1322E. doi:10.1073/pnas.1417413112. PMC   4321236 . PMID   25605876. S2CID   1678719.
  8. Jolkesky, Marcelo (2016), Estudo arqueo-ecolinguístico das terras tropicais sul-americanas., Brasilia: UnB. PhD Dissertation.
  9. 1 2 3 Anderson, Doris, Conversational Ticuna, Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1962
  10. Montes Rodríguez, María Emilia (2004). Lengua ticuna: resultados de fonología y sintaxis.
  11. 1 2 "Vocabularin in Native American Languages: Ticuna Words". Native Languages.
  12. "Global Recordings - Ticuna Language".
  13. "Greetings in more than 3000 languages".
  14. Loukotka, Čestmír (1968). Classification of South American Indian languages . Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.