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Do you speak Tikuna? Introduction to an Amazonian language and practice of descriptive and typological linguistics based on a corpus gathered through fieldwork – Denis Bertet (DDL)
Tikuna (glottocode: ticu1245) is spoken by approximately 60,000 people in the western Amazon region, making it the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Amazon basin despite a seemingly small number of speakers. The Tikunas live across a large area along the Amazon and Putumayo rivers in Peru, Colombia and Brazil. A minority of them still live in remote areas, in groups of a few dozen individuals and maintain traditional ways of life. Nevertheless, most Tikunas currently live on the banks of major waterways of communication in rural communities or semi-urban settlements of a few hundred to a few thousand inhabitants, and are more integrated, economically and culturally, into the national societies that surround them. Despite some Tikunas occasionally reading or writing in their language, the language remains almost exclusively oral. The Tikuna language currently has a large number of speakers, but the pressure from Spanish and Portuguese (most Tikunas are bilingual) may confine its use to increasingly marginal social contexts in the long run. The course will focus on the Tikuna language spoken by approximately 600 people in the Colombian community of San Martín de Amacayacu.