Switch reference systems in the Barbacoan languages and their neighbors
This chapter surveys the available data on Barbacoan languages and their neighbors to explore a case study of switch reference within a single language family and in a situation of areal contact. To the extent possible given the available data, we weigh accounts appealing to common inheritance and areal convergence to ask what combination of factors led to the current state of these languages. We discuss the areal distribution of switch reference systems in the northwest Andean region, the different types of systems and degrees of complexity observed, and scenarios of contact and convergence, particularly in the case of Barbacoan and Ecuadorian Quechua. We then covers each of the Barbacoan languages’ systems (with the exception of Totoró, represented by its close relative Guambiano), identifying limited formal cognates, primarily between closely-related Tsafiki and Cha’palaa, as well as broader functional similarities, particularly in terms of interactions with topic/focus markers. n accounts for the current state of affairs with a complex scenario of areal prevalence of switch reference combined with deep structural family inheritance and formal re-structuring of the systems over time.