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A Reference Grammar of Kotiria (Wanano)

Kristine Stenzel

Publication Year: 2013

Published through the Recovering Languages and Literacies of the Americas initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is the first descriptive grammar of Kotiria (Wanano), a member of the Tukanoan language family spoken in the Vaupes river basin of Colombia and Brazil in the northwest Amazon rain forest. The Kotirias have lived in this remote region for more than seven hundred years and participate in the complex Vaupes social system characterized by longstanding linguistic and cultural interaction. The Kotirias remained relatively isolated from the dominant societies until the early part of the twentieth century, when the region began to experience increasing outside influence leading to processes of rapid social and linguistic change. Today the Kotirias number only about 1,600 people and their language, though still used in traditional communities, is rapidly becoming endangered.

Kristine Stenzel draws on eight years of intensive work with the Kotirias to promote, record, and revitalize their language. Working with dozens of native speakers and drawing on numerous oral narratives and written texts, this book is the first comprehensive study of this endangered language and one of the few reference grammars of this language family.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-xii

List of tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

List of figures and maps

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pp. xv-16

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pp. xvi-17

This grammar is the result of ten years of ongoing study of the Kotiria language and practical work on language issues with the Kotiria people. It is a slightly expanded and substantially reorganized version of my dissertation, completed in 2004 at the University of Colorado, and is based on a corpus of primary data ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

This research would not have been possible without generous aid from a number of organizations and individuals int he United States and in Brazil whom I would like to gratefully acknowledge. First I would like to reiterate my thanks to the University of Colorado department of linguistics ...

Abbreviations used in glosses

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pp. xix-xx

Abbreviations for example sources

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pp. xxi-22

Format of examples and texts

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pp. xxii-23

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1. The Kotiria and their language

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pp. 1-21

This chapter introduces the Kotiria1 people, their language, and the sociolinguistic context in which it is spoken. An overview of linguistic diversity in Amazonia, of Kotiria’s place within the Tukanoan language family,2 and of the history of research is presented in §§1.1–1.2. ...

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2. Phonology

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pp. 22-75

This chapter presents an overview of Kotiria phonology, including its phonemic inventory and allophonic variants (§§2.1–2.3), features of the syllable—basic shapes, restrictions, and derivations—the role of moras in prosodic structure (§2.4), and some commonly occurring phonological processes (§2.9). ...

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3. Words

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pp. 76-97

Words in Kotiria are composed according to a basic morphological template that demonstrates Kotiria to be a typologically polysynthetic, agglutinating, and canonically suffixing language. Word formation processes in Kotiria involve several types of morphemes: roots (noun, verb, and particle), nonroot stem morphemes, ...

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4. Noun classes and noun formation

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pp. 98-151

Kotiria, like other Eastern Tukanoan languages (see the comparative overview in §4.1), has a very rich system of noun formation and noun classification expressed by both noun class morphology and noun classifiers. The base of the noun classification system is the division of nouns into two classes: animates and inanimates. ...

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5. Nominal morphology

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pp. 152-172

Kotiria has a complex template of nominal morphology coding lexical, grammatical, and discourse-level information, summarized in figure 5.1. Among the morphemes coding lexical information, which occur closest to the root, those relating to nominalization, gender, and number (positions 1 through 3 in the figure) were discussed in chapter 4. ...

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6. Noun phrases

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pp. 173-197

This chapter describes the internal syntax of noun phrases (NPs) in Kotiria. Noun phrase structure follows a basic template in which most types of modifiers generally precede the head noun (§6.1). The basic types of modifiers include determiner and quantifying expressions (§§6.2–6.3), ...

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7. Verbal semantics and serialization processes

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pp. 198-243

This chapter presents the major semantic classes of verbs in Kotiria. The stative class (§7.1) includes a copula, a verb indicating nonexistence, and verbs expressing possessive, locational, and descriptive or adjectival states, while the nonstative class (§§7.2–7.4) encompasses activity verbs, verbs of motion ...

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8. Nonroot stem morphemes in the verb

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pp. 244-267

This chapter continues the description of the complex morphology of finite verbs in Kotiria, focusing on morphemes that are more grammaticalized than those examined in chapter 7 and that occur farther from the initial root. After showing the basic morphological template of verbs (§8.1), ...

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9. Clause modality

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pp. 268-312

This chapter completes the description of Kotiria verbal morphology with an examination of clause modality, the only semantic category obligatorily coded on all finite verbal words. The four major categories of clause modality—realis (evidential), irrealis, interrogative, and directive—correspond to three primary sentence types ...

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10. Clause structure

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pp. 313-356

This chapter describes the syntax of the Kotiria clause—in particular, the arguments taken by different categories of verbs and the prototypical grammatical and semantic roles associated with those arguments, as well as types of adjuncts. (Complement clauses and other multipleverb constructions are treated in chapter 11.) ...

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11. Complex sentences

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pp. 357-379

This chapter discusses additional features of Kotiria clause structure beyond arguments and basic adjuncts. Section 11.1 considers the order of constituents in the clause; in the basic template, arguments, modifiers, and all verbal complements precede the verb. ...

Appendix 1: Texts

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pp. 380-456

Appendix 2: Vocabulary

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pp. 457-486


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pp. 487-498


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pp. 499-506

E-ISBN-13: 9780803246492
E-ISBN-10: 0803246498
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803228221

Page Count: 536
Illustrations: 1 map, 15 figures, 38 tables
Publication Year: 2013