Cariban Historical Linguistics: The State of the Art

Author(s): Sérgio Meira

Year: 2016


The Cariban language family, with between 25 and 40 languages (depending on one's criteria for distinguishing languages from dialects, and on the quality of older sources for extinct languages), is one of the most important language families in South America, together with Tupian, Arawak, and Macro-Ge. Although much descriptive work remains to be done, there are now sufficiently many good descriptions of Cariban languages to warrant good lexical comparative work, going well beyond Girard's 1971 Proto-Carib phonology. In this presentation, the current results of ongoing research on the history of the Cariban lexicon and its consequences for our understanding of the external history of Cariban peoples will be discussed in detail, with special attention to the reconstructibility of specific lexical items relating to Cariban culture and to current theories on the location of the Cariban homeland and possible migration routes. given the current geographic distribution of Cariban peoples.

Cite this Record

Cariban Historical Linguistics: The State of the Art. Sérgio Meira. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404388)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;