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Title: A Grammar of Akuntsú, A Tupian Language
Authors: Aragon, Carolina C.
Keywords: Akuntsú - Grammar
Tupian Languages
American Indigenous Languages
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: University of Hawai'i
Abstract: This dissertation presents a description of the main aspects of Akuntsú grammar,as spoken by five monolingual people who live in the Southeast region of Rondônia state, Brazil. Akuntsú people have until recently been an isolated indigenous group, now the only survivors of genocide. Akuntsú is a critically endangered language. This study presents an analysis of the phonology and morphosyntax of the language. It takes a functional approach to describing the structures of the language and the function that each grammatical component serves. This study is based on fieldwork research carried out since 2004, where the analyses were grounded on several texts. This dissertation introduces aspects of the Akuntsú people and culture (chapter 1); in chapter 2, I describe Akuntsú phonology and relevant properties of morphophonology; grammatical categories and word-structures are introduced in chapter 3; nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, ideophones, particles and interjections are discussed in chapter 4, 5, 6 and 7 respectively; and simple clause types in chapter 8. Typologically, Akuntsú has been revealed interesting phonological and morphological characteristics. The stop consonants in Akuntsú have different surface representations, such as a voiceless-voiced consonant cluster, which alternates intervocalically and under stress assignment. Another unique feature relates to its morphology. The morpheme used in the related Makuráp, Tuparí and Mekéns languages (members of the Tuparían subfamily) identified as a genitive classifier to signal possession of animals is, in Akuntsú, replaced by kinship terms, as though possessedanimals were now treated as sons or daughters. It shows that the drastic social changes they have suffered in being reduced to five members is indeed reflected in a particular linguistic construction. Aside from these linguistic traits, languages spoken in Rondônia state in Brazil, such as Akuntsú, have an important value, both by their linguistic diversity and by their location in a region which is claimed to be the main area of the Tupían homeland. By describing Akuntsú, it is possible to further contribute to linguistic science, especially to the study of historical linguistics in the area. Enhancing the accessibility of information on this language will be valuable for scholars with various interests, but is especially of value to those interested in grammatical properties of languages generally, and in what Akuntsú grammar specifically can contribute to the understanding of typology and our knowledge of the extent of what is possible in human languages.
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