- Yanomaman languages
Infobox Language family
Yanomaman (also Yanomam, Yanomáman, Yamomámi, Yanomamana, Shamatari, Shirianan) is a small
language familyof northwestern Brazil( Roraima, Amazonas) and southern Venezuela.
Yanomaman consists of 4 languages, very similar with each other, sometimes classified as a dialect continuum:
:# Yaman (a.k.a. Ninam, Yanam-Ninam):# Sanumá (a.k.a. Tsanuma, Sanima):# Yanomámi (a.k.a. Waiká):# Yanomamö (a.k.a. Yanomame, Yanomami)
Sunumá being the most lexically distinct. Yanomamö has the most speakers (17,600) while Yanam has the fewest (560).
Yanomamam is usually not connected with any other language family.
Joseph Greenberghas suggested a relationship between (his) Chibchan. Migliazza (1985) has suggested a connection with Panoanand Chibchan.
Phonetically, as in most native Brazilian and Amazonian languages, Yanomami have both oral and nasal vowels. There are seven basic vowels: a, e, i, o, u, ɨ (also spelled y), ə. In the Yanam language, u has merged with ɨ.
Yanomaman languages are SOV, suffixing, predominantly
head-markingwith elements of dependent-marking. Its typology is highly polysynthetic. Adjectival concepts are expressed by means of stative verbs, there are no true adjectives. Adjectival stative verbs follow their noun.
There are five demonstratives which have to be chosen according to distance from speaker and hearer and also according to visibility, a feature shared by many native Brazilian languages such as Tupian ones including
Old Tupi. Demonstratives, numerals, classifiers and quantifiers precede the head noun.
There is a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession, again a common areal feature, and a rich system of verbal classifiers, almost a hundred, they are obligatory and appear just before the verb root. The distinction between inclusive and exclusive 1st person plural, a feature shared by most native American languages, has been lost in Yanam and Yanomam dialects, but retained in the others.
Yanomami morphosyntactic alignment is
ergative-absolutive, which means that the subject of an intransitive verb is marked the same way as the object of a transitive verb, while the subject of transitive verb is marked differently. The ergative case marker is "-ny". The verb agrees with both subject and object. Evidentialityon Yanomami dialect is marked on the verb and has four levels: eyewitness, deduced, reported, and assumed. Other dialects have fewer levels.
The object of the verb can be incorporated into it, especially if it not in focus:
kamijə-ny sipara ja-puhi-i1sg-ERG axe 1sg-want-DYNAMIC'I want an/the axe'
'I want [it] , the axe'
Relative clauses are formed by adding a relativizing ('REL' below) suffix to the verb:
wãro-n shama shyra-wei ware-ma
man-ERG tapir kill-REL eat-COMPL
'the man who killed the tapir ate it'
Sanuma dialect also has a relative pronoun "ĩ".
* Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. & Dixon R.M.W. (1999) "The Amazonian Languages" Cambridge Language Surveys (p. 341-351)
* Campbell, Lyle. (1997). "American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
* Greenberg, Joseph H. (1960). General classification of Central and South American languages. In A. Wallace (Ed.), "Men and cultures: Fifth international congress of anthropological and ethnological sciences (1956)" (pp. 791-794). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
* Greenberg, Joseph H. (1987). "Language in the Americas". Stanford: Stanford University Press.
* Kaufman, Terrence. (1990). Language history in South America: What we know and how to know more. In D. L. Payne (Ed.), "Amazonian linguistics: Studies in lowland South American languages" (pp. 13-67). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70414-3.
* Kaufman, Terrence. (1994). The native languages of South America. In C. Mosley & R. E. Asher (Eds.), "Atlas of the world's languages" (pp. 46-76). London: Routledge.
* Migliazza, Ernest C. (1985). Languages of the Orinoco-Amazon region: Current status. In H. E. Manelis Klein & L. R. Stark (Eds.), "South American Indian languages: Retrospect and prospect" (pp. 17-139). Austin: University of Texas Press.
* Migliazza, Ernest C.; & Campbell, Lyle. (1988). "Panorama general de las lenguas indígenas en América". Historia general de América (Vol. 10). Caracas: Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia.
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