Abstract and Keywords
Lowland Amazonia is the locus of substantial linguistic diversity in terms of genetic affiliation, language structure, and numbers of languages. This chapter will focus on the distribution of types of polysynthetic patterns within Lowland Amazonia, with special attention to the spread, and the types, of noun incorporation. The highest concentration of polysynthetic languages in Amazonia is the region south of the Amazon River, spanning adjacent regions of Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Polysynthetic patterns can be reconstructed for the protolanguages of some families, such as Panoan, Harakmbet, and possibly Arawá. Polysynthetic patterns in Arawak family (by far the largest in terms of its geographical spread) are often due to areal diffusion. We will focus on a number of mechanisms for the development of polysynthesis in established linguistic areas, for example the Vaupés River Basin linguistic area, and on a number of established instances of intensive language contact.
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