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This work contains a descriptive grammar of Mamaindê, a Northern Nambikwara
language of west central Brazil. The Mamaindê language is spoken by some
250 people, located in four communities. While bilingualism in Portuguese is
rapidly gaining ground, the spoken vernacular has so far been able to preserve
critical domains and thus maintain a healthy level of vitality. There are many
signs, however, of both cultural and language shift, indicating that this language
may be on the edge of endangerment.
The first chapter includes a broad overview of the culture and history of the
Mamaindê people. A connection between language and culture is stressed at
the outset, with examples of this relationship being given at significant points
throughout the work. Subsequent chapters address the areas of Phonology,
Morphology, and Syntax, the last of which also includes a section on Discourse.
Data is offered which should be of interest to those involved in the research of
Nambikwara languages, Amazonian linguistics, and linguistic typology.
Specific topics which are relevant to current theory include an eclectic view of
feature geometry, the analysis of pre-oralized nasal segments, coda licensing,
stress in lexical strata, tone sandhi, evidentiality, endearment terms, emotives,
noun classifiers, the impersonal construction, and the presence of low and
high registers in an Amazonian language.