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Language, ritual and historical reconstruction: Towards a linguistic, ethnographical and archaeological account of Upper Xingu Society

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Abstract

In this article we present results from interdisciplinary research among the Kuikuro of the Upper Xingu (Brazil). The project integrates linguistic, ethnographic and archaeological data as a means to reconstruct the processes through which peoples speaking languages of the three largest South American linguistic groupings (Arawak, Carib, and Tupi), as well as a language isolate (Trumai), came to create a unique social system: the Upper Xingu sociocultural complex. We address the following questions: how did this system – spanning from the 9th century AD until the present and formed by peoples with distinct cultures and origins – come into being? Which cultural bases and historical circumstances led to its structuring? What role did language and multilingualism play in this process?

References

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