A phonological reconstruction of Proto-Omagua–Kokama–Tupinambá


Summary, in English

The Tupí–Guaraní languages Omagua [omg] and Kokama [cod] constitute interesting examples of heavy language contact in Amazonia. This is evident from their lexicon, which is mostly Tupí–Guaraní, but with a high percentage of non-Tupí–Guaraní forms, and the grammar, which is very distinct from other Tupí–Guaraní languages. The lexifying Tupí–Guaraní language in this contact situation is believed to be a language similar to Tupinambá [tpn], now extinct, but well-known from 16th century Jesuit grammars and texts. The circumstances which yielded the contact situation between the ancestral language of Omagua and Kokama and the non-Tupí–Guaraní language(s) are not widely known. Nor have the non-Tupí–Guaraní language(s) so far been identified. This thesis compares the phonology of Omagua and Kokama with their closest relative Tupinambá, and reconstructs the phonology of their most recent common ancestor, Proto-Omagua–Kokama–Tupinambá. In doing this, the thesis identifies which phonological changes were involved in the genesis of Omagua and Kokama, and what we can infer about the phonologies of the non-Tupí–Guaraní languages involved in the contact situation. This is of interest to the field of contact linguistics, as examples of contact languages of pre-Columbian origin in the Americas are rare.


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Omagua
  • Kokama
  • Tupinambá
  • Tupí–Guaraní
  • historical linguistics
  • comparative linguistics
  • contact linguistics
  • phonology
  • creole languages


  • Gerd Carling
  • Lev Michael