Code-switching em Akwẽ-Xerente/Português

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Universidade Federal de Goiás


The Xerente inhabit the right margin of the Tocantins river, approximately 100 km north of Palmas (TO), and the population comprises 3,600 individuals. After more than two hundred years of contact with non-indigenous populations, the Xerente maintain their language and unique cultural traits, a particular way to perceive and immerse themselves in real life. As a consequence of this accelerated process of contact with non-indigenous populations, the Xerente are now in a stage of high bilingualism (BRAGGIO, 2012), a situation that reveals several phenomena, among them, one which is called code-switching (CS). Our work focuses on this phenomenon. The goal is to attain a broad understanding of grammatical and typological characteristics and the social and pragmatic motivations of CS in the Xerentespeaking community. Data from the grammatical analysis, performed with the support of the Matrix Language Frame Model (MLF) and 4-M (MYERS-SCOTTON, 1993a, 2002) models show that, in the CS used by the Akwe, the matrix language (ML) is predominantly the Xerente language, while the Portuguese language is relegated to the position of embedded language (EL) within the bilingual projection of Complementizer (CP), the unit of analysis of the MFL. Additionally, our data present samples of facts which previous studies applying the MLF model have considered to be rare. It has to do with the isolated insertion of grammatical morphemes presenting with the trace [-refers to grammatical information outside of Maximal Projection of Head] and adverbs, which we see, along with the recurrent use of some names and verbs from the Portuguese language (probably borrowings), as evidence of the advanced degree of contact between the Xerente and the Portuguese languages. This reflects the different weight of these languages in certain social domains. The configurations of this contact are also revealed by the analysis of the sociolinguistic variables and the social and pragmatic motivation of the CS, realized under the light of the Markedness Model (MYERSSCOTTON, 1993b), supported by Gumperz (1982) social and interactional approach and the assumptions of the Ethnography of Communication (HYMES, 1972[1964], 1974, 1986). It is then possible to determine that in the urban environment, among the younger population with more schooling, there is a more intense and varied use of CS. In the topic variable analysis, CS is mostly used in subjects regarding social domains related to the predominant language/culture, exactly where there are instances of diglossic conflicts in which languages find themselves in a situation of competitiveness, as pointed out by Braggio (2010). Among the events analyzed, the ritual speech of the elders is, by far, that which presents the greatest resistance to contact with Portuguese. However, in events that take place in the city, as well as other events in which topics are related to that environment, we see CS being used more frequently and presenting greater diversity/complexity. The phenomenon presents itself as a unmarked or exploratory choice, precisely in these events, which gives Portuguese a series of attributes that include the traces [+education], [+formality], [+authority], [+official] and [+sociocultural status]. In view of that, we believe that a broad understanding of CS and of the sociolinguistic configurations in which it takes place, can contribute to the academic education of indigenous populations, in the sense that it will help in the preparation of pedagogical materials. It will also help to establish goals for linguistic policies geared towards providing vitality, and strength to the linguistic and cultural autonomy of the Xerente people. Moreover, the paper also offers a contribution to sociolinguistics, to the study of languages in contact and to the study of indigenous languages, most notably, the Akwe-Xerente language.



MESQUITA, Rodrigo. Code-switching em Akwẽ-Xerente/Português. 2015. 245 f. Tese (Doutorado em Letras e Linguística) - Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, 2015.