Empréstimos lingüísticos do português em Xerente Akwé

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Universidade Federal de Goiás
Many languages, spoken by minority populations coming in contact with majority ones are losing vitality. Additionally, several other languages have become extinct, and this phenomenon is related to a cultural complexity involving a unique way to reflect on reality and to become a part of it. The reasons for this are many, and in each case, they act in different ways. Identifying these reasons can help to clarify the situation of a given language, and, consequently, provide subsidies for (re)vitalization projects, given that the understanding of the sociolinguistic situation may reveal what is behind the many facets resulting from the predominantly asymmetric relationships among unequally assigned political, economic and cultural powers among the involved populations. In this sense, variations and changes in those languages are directly related to changes that have taken place in the social and cultural medium and in the ecosystem where those peoples live. Thus, both linguistic and extra-linguistic factors act on those changes. According to several authors (Albó, 1988; Braggio, 1997; Godenzzi, 2000; Nettle & Romaine, 2000; Romaine, 1995 among others), borrowings made by minority languages which come in contact with dominant languages, are seen as signs that the lexicon of that particular language is losing vitality, in view of the speed with which those borrowings are incorporated. Thus, there is no time for the community to adapt the terms by creating them their own language or to filter the new terms, adjusting them to the structure of the native language. As stated earlier, the whole social, cultural, political and economic structure of those peoples is being threatened. The Xerente people are among those minorities whose language is being threatened. In this view, we intend to give our contribution to Linguistics, to the study of indigenous languages and to the Xerente Akwe people, by bringing to light the sociolinguistic situation in which they find themselves, by studying the linguistic borrowings made from Portuguese to their language. Currently, they are 3,100 individuals and their language is part of the Jê family, Macro Jê language stock (RODRIGUES, 1986). They occupy an area in the State of Tocantins, approximately 80 km from Palmas, the State capital. They are distributed among 56 villages, and part of the population (approximately 10%) lives in Tocantínia, the city which is closest to them. Therefore, the main goals of this dissertation are: a) describing and analyzing the borrowings from Portuguese to Xerente Akwe, in their linguistic and extra-linguistic aspects; b) making a contribution to the area of sociolinguistics, with the study of the borrowings, in a situation of close linguistic and socio-cultural contact and c) thinking, along with the Xerente people, about the phenomenon that is the object of this study and attempt to contribute to their school education and to the vitalization of their language in the aspects that are being most affected (Braggio, 2008). To attain these goals, we are using the method which consists of applying words lists with visual aids divided into semantic fields (such as transportation, tools and utensils, school, food etc., representing the new elements that are being introduced in the indigenous culture), for the purpose of determining up to what point these borrowings are being made on a regular basis, among languages that come in contact with each other as changes that are unique to each language, as a lexicon-expanding tool or if they are taking place in a disorderly fashion, thereby contributing to the dislocation of the Xerente language, or both. Regarding linguistic aspects, we have identified four types of borrowings: i) borrowings by creation; ii) loanblends; iii) phonetic/phonological adjustments and iv) direct borrowings, each with different degrees of structural complexity. The last ones are used exactly like they are used in Portuguese, and thereby represent a prevalent force of the Portuguese language as used by the speakers, in their effort to adapt them to the indigenous language. This type of borrowing marks the real beginning of a language obsolescence, since it is related to the speed with which the borrowings make their appearance. Additionally, one can not separate borrowings from attitudes, since they are very important for the linguistic policies that the Xerente people have been adopting. Results from the analysis of extra-linguistic aspects have shown that some borrowings have become aportuguesados , that is, they show Portuguese-like characteristics, which are closer or identical to the forms used in Portuguese. They are more commonly found among the children and the younger Xerente who live in the city and have more schooling. The forms created with elements of the native language are more easily found among the older population, living in the indigenous community with little or no schooling. Generally speaking, the social reality of the Xerente, consisting of migration, internal dispersion and schooling in the Portuguese language, as Braggio (idem) states, can be considered as being one of the factors that can potentialize an intrusion of Portuguese into the Xerente Akwe language. We believe that this study fills a gap by dealing with a specific aspect of the sociolinguistic reality of the Xerente people, thereby providing subsidies for future studies.
MESQUITA, Rodrigo. LINGUISTIC OPERATIONS IN THE PORTUGUESE XERENTE Akwe. 2009. 146 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Lingüística, Letras e Artes) - Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, 2009.