On the non-phonemic status of the velar nasal /ŋ/ in Jivaroan


  • Simon Overall La Trobe University




Família jívaro. Phonology. Reconstruction.


The modern Jivaroan languages and the reconstructed proto language have all been assigned a velar nasal phoneme /ŋ/ by previous analysts. In this paper I argue that such an analysis is incorrect, and propose that the velar nasals in surface forms come from two sources. The first is assimilation of an underlying unspecified syllable-final nasal archiphoneme /N/ to a following velar stop /k/. The second concerns a group of velar nasals that surface only in Aguaruna and arise as a syllable-final allophone of the phoneme /h/. I also propose to reconstruct a rhotic phoneme for the proto language rather than a velar nasal, and show that it has merged with /h/ in Aguaruna. Historical, comparative and documentary evidence is adduced to support these hypotheses.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Simon Overall, La Trobe University

Research Center for Lingüistic Typology (RCLT), La
Trobe University.


ADELAAR, Willem F. H.; MUYSKEN, Pieter C. (eds.). (2004) The Languages of the Andes.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Indeed, Aikhenvald & Dixon (2001: 4; and throughout) point out that the phenomenon of ‘parallel development’ should make us cautious of a proposed genetic relationship based on the reconstruction of a single innovation in a group of closely related dialects under conditions of geographical proximity and sustained contact.

AIKHENVALD, Alexandra Y. (1996) Words, pauses and boundaries: evidence from South American languages. Studies in Language 20: 487–517.

AIKHENVALD, Alexandra Y.; DIXON, R. M. W.(eds.) (2001) Introduction. In AIKHENVALD, Alexandra Y. Areal Diffusion and Genetic Inheritance: Problems in comparative linguistics, pp. 1–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

CORBERA MORI, Angel. (1994) Fonologia e Gramática do Aguaruna (Jívaro). Unpublished doctoral dissertation. State University of Campinas, Brazil.

DIXON, R. M. W. (2004) The Jarawara language of Southern Amazonia. New York: Oxford University Press.

FABRE, Alain. (2005) Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos [Updated version of Manual de las lenguas indígenas sudamericanas. Munich: Lincom Europa, 1998]. Accessed at: http://butler.cc.tut.fi/~fabre/BookInternetVersio/Alkusivu.html

FAST, Gerhard et al. (1996) Diccionario Achuar-Shiwiar Castellano. Lima: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.

FOX, Anthony. (1995) Linguistic Reconstruction: An introduction to theory and method. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

GNERRE, Maurizio (1975) L’utilizzazione delle fonti documentarie dei secoli XVI e XVII per la storia linguistica Jíbaro. In E.Cerulli; Della G. Ragione (eds.). Atti del XL Congresso Internazionale degli americanisti vol. 3: 79-86. Genoa: Tilgher

GNERRE, Maurizio (1999) Profilo Descrittivo e Storico-comparativo di una Lingua Amazzonica: Lo Shuar (Jívaro). Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale.

GORDON, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). (2005) Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Accessed at: http://www.ethnologue.com/

JAKWAY, Martha et al. (1987) Vocabulario Huambisa. Serie Lingüística Peruana 24. Lima: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.

MATISOFF, James A. (1975) Rhinoglottophilia: The mysterious connection between nasality and glottality. In Charles A.Ferguson; Larry M. Hyman; John J. Ohala. (eds.). Nasálfest (papers from a symposium on nasals and nasalization), pp. 265-87. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

OVERALL, Simon E. (2007) A Grammar of Aguaruna. Ph.D. Dissertation. RCLT, La Trobe University, Australia.

PARKER, Steve. (1999) A sketch of Iñapari phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics 65: 1-39.

PAYNE, David L. (1978) Nasalidad en Aguaruna (Second edition). Serie Lingüística Peruana 15. Lima: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.

PAYNE, David L. (1981) Bosquejo fonológico del Proto-Shuar-Candoshi: Evidencias para una relación genética. Revista del Museo Nacional 45: 323-377.

PAYNE, David L. (1990) Accent in Aguaruna. In Doris Payne (ed.) Amazonian Linguistics. Studies in Lowlan South American Languages, pp.161-184. Austin, TX.: University of Texas Press.

PELLIZARO, Siro; NÁWECH, Fausto Osvaldo (2005) Chicham: Diccionario Shuar Castellano. Quito: Abya-Yala.

PIKE, Kenneth L.; LARSON, Mildred L. (1964) Hyperphonemes and non-systematic features of Aguaruna phonemics. In Albert H. Marckwardt (ed.) Studies in languages and linguistics in honor of Charles C. Fries, pp. 55-67. Ann Arbor, Michigan: English Language Institute.

STARK, Louisa R. (1985) Indigenous languages of lowland Ecuador: History and current status In Harriet E. Manelis Klein; Louisa R. Stark (eds.) South American Indian languages: retrospect and prospect, pp. 157-193. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

TURNER, Glen D. (edited by Stephen H. Levinsohn). (1992) Una Breve Gramática del Shuar. Cuadernos Etnolingüísticos 19, Quito: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.

WISE, M. R. (1999) Small language families and isolates in Peru. In R. M. W. Dixon; Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (eds.) The Amazonian Languages, pp. 307-340. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




Como Citar

OVERALL, S. On the non-phonemic status of the velar nasal /ŋ/ in Jivaroan. LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, Campinas, SP, v. 8, n. 1, p. 45–59, 2010. DOI: 10.20396/liames.v8i1.1470. Disponível em: https://periodicos.sbu.unicamp.br/ojs/index.php/liames/article/view/1470. Acesso em: 30 nov. 2022.