DDL - UMR 5596
ISH - Bat C
14 avenue Berthelot
69007 Lyon
Tél : 04 72 72 64 12
Fax : 04 72 72 65 90


Previous Month Janvier 2018 Previous Month
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4

  Plusieurs évènements
 Vous êtes ici : Accueil /  Evénements / Calendrier

mar. 23/01/2018 Atelier "Méthodes" portant sur l'élicitation présenté par Marine Vuillermet.

mar. 23/01/2018 Atelier Histoire et Ecologie des Langues: Matthias Urban. "Towards a new linguistic prehistory of the Central Andes: retrospect and prospect"
ISH-Ennat Leger

In this talk, I provide an overview of past work on the linguistic landscape of the prehistoric and early historic Central Andes (coast and highlands of present-day Peru and western Bolivia and the northernmost parts of Chile and Argentina) and then sketch a research agenda for the coming years from thereon.

The crucial point of departure is the realization that the Andean linguistic landscape as it exists today does not coincide with what can be reconstructed at the eve of Spanish contact. Taking into account the earliest recoverable situation, which 16th century Spaniards were still able to observe, the widespread Quechuan and Aymaran families were embedded into a landscape of linguistic diversity throughout the Central Andes. In Southern Peru and Bolivia, alongside the Uru-Chipaya language family, the now all but gone Puquina was a major factor, but especially for Northern Peru a mesh of isolates and small language families created a picture of linguistic diversity more reminiscent of present-day Amazonia than of today’s Andes (Urban to appear a, b). The sheer numeric overweight of distinct Quechuan and Aymaran varieties today, the saliency they have achieved in the scholarly community because of the intensive attention to their complex mutual relationship, and the relatively poor state of knowledge regarding the abovementioned “minor” languages that has obtained until very recently have led to a situation in which Quechuan and Aymaran characteristics have influenced ideas of what Andean languages are like to a degree that is disproportionately high. The “Quechumaran” language type (Cerrón-Palomino 1994) has become the prototype of what an “Andean” languages look like also in broader continent-wide areal-typological theorizing (Dixon and Aikhenvald 1999). I suggest that when considering the past as well as present linguistic diversity of the Central Andes, the picture must be modified (Urban to appear).

In the second part of the talk, I sketch the research agenda for my newly established research group “The language dynamics of the ancient Central Andes” at the University of Tübingen. The group aims to achieve a more inclusive picture of Andean linguistic prehistory by paying attention to all available data and languages. These, another premise of its approach, are moust fruitfully interpreted in light of long-standing Andean sociological and economic patterns such as vertical complementarity and resource sharing across the ecological zones of the Andes and the linguistic ecology that results from these. Also, language contact and shift rather than imperial periods and the spread of language families are therefore in the center of attention of the group.

Relevant work often proceeds in a “bottom-up” fashion, in which close attention to philological details step by step leads to a better understanding of local linguistic patterns, which can then in turn form the basis for the required higher-level theorizing. I illustrate this with data from ongoing work on the linguistic prehistory of the Chachapoyas region on the eastern slopes of the Northern Peruvian Andes, where several independent lines of evidence (local toponymy and personal names, “substrate” vocabulary in the local variety of Quechua, and areal-typological consideration) converge in pointing to a presence of a language distinct from but related to Cholón in a much wider area than hitherto recognized (Urban submitted).


Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo. 1994. Quechumara. Estructuras paralelas de las lenguas quechua y aimara. La Paz: Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado.

Dixon, R.M.W., and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald. 1999. Introduction. In: R.M.W. Dixon and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (eds.): The Amazonian languages, 1-21. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Urban, Matthias. To appear a. Lost languages of the Peruvian North Coast. Berlin: Iberoamerikanisches Institut.

Urban, Matthias. To appear b. Is there a Central Andean language area? A view from the “minor” languages. Journal of Language Contact.

Urban, Matthias. Submitted. The prehistoric extension of the Hibito-Cholón languages: triangulating toponymy, substrate lexis, and areal typology.


ASLAN -  Université de Lyon -  CNRS -  Université Lumière Lyon 2 -  ISH -  Typologie -  IXXI -  DDL :  Contact |  Mentions légales |  Plan du site