On the position of the Awetí language in the Tupí family
On the position of the Awetí language in the Tupí family. In W. Dietrich, & H. Symeonidis (Eds.
), Guarani y "Maweti-Tupi-Guarani. Estudios historicos y descriptivos sobre una familia lingüistica de America del Sur
(pp. 11-45). Berlin: LIT Verlag.
In this study we have examined the evidence for the exact genetic position of the Awetí language in the large Tupí family, especially evidence for an internal classification of the larger branch of Tupí called “Mawetí-Guaraní” which comprises the Tupí-Guaraní family, Awetí and Sateré-Mawé.
As it turns out, we did not find any clear example of an uncommon sound change which would have happened after the separation of the antecessor of one branch but before the split between the other two. There is some just probability that Awetí belongs somewhat closer to Tupí-Guaraní within Mawetí-Guaraní (configuration A in Table 1), but we did not find any conclusive evidence.
All we have are some weak indications the majority of which, however, point in this direction:
• a higher number of cognates found between Awetí and proto-Tupí-Guarani;
• lexicostatistic results (number of cognates in a 100-item-word-list proposed by Swadesh);
• loss of long vowels in Awetí and Tupí-Guaraní, but not in Sateré-Mawé;
• some sound changes suggest that in the development to Awetí and to proto-Tupí-Guaraní velar segments changes to dental segments (cf. the discussion of the correspondence set j : t : w);
• possibly some of the correspondence sets given in Table 20.
We consider it to be too soon to conclude that there is a branch Awetí + Tupí-Guaraní of Mawetí-Guaraní, opposed to Sateré-Mawé, but if there is any grouping, this hypothesis is most promising.
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