The spread of cultural vocabulary in Rondônia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Allmän språkvetenskap

Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of the borrowability of cultural vocabulary among languages of different genetic origin in the Brazilian state of Rondônia, one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world. Since cultural vocabulary is more likely to be borrowed compared to other lexical domains, if there has been language contact in this area, this is expected to be reflected in these terms. Two semantic fields of study were chosen: religion and agriculture. The study concerns 23 languages of various genetic origin: 11 Tupían, 6 Chapacuran (dialects), 2 Nambiquaran, 1 Macro-Gean, 1 Panoan and 2 isolates. The two semantic fields turned out to show very different results. The religion terms showed almost no borrowability at all, which contradicted previous findings strongly. For the agriculture terms, the results were highly individual and cannot easily be generalized, but were given a more extensive description in the Results and discussion chapter. The maize terms have been attributed an extensive section since they showed the most complex results and were connectable to earlier research.

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