The Language of the Mawayana


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Title The Language of the Mawayana
Period 04 / 2002 - 09 / 2005
Status Completed
Research number OND1297008
Data Supplier Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)


The aim of the proposed research is to write a grammar of Mawayana, a moribund language, probably belonging to the Arawakan language family, with at present five fluent speakers in Kwamalasamutu, a predominantly Trio (Cariban) village in the south of Suriname. Given the level of endangerment of this language, the fluency of the speakers is quite remarkable and is the result of the fact that the speakers form a close-knit active spech community, as preliminary investigations have shown. The language itself has been something of an anomaly to researchers in the area from which the Mawayana Frog people came, namely the south of Guyana in the border region with Brazil. The little that we know about the language points to an Arawakan language but almost a hundred years of living in close contact with first, the cariban language waiwai and subsequently the last half century surrounded by the Cariban Trio, has resulted in considerable influence from Cariban language.

Related organisations

Related people

Researcher Dr. E.B. Carlin
Project leader Prof.dr. W.F.H. Adelaar


D36900 Language and literature studies of other language groups
D63000 Cultural anthropology
E13000 Development studies

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