A closer look at a supposedly anumeric language

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Abstract

Languages without cardinal numbers are exceedingly rare, with only a few clearly documented cases. One such case is putatively Jarawara, an Arawá language that has been claimed to lack native number terms. Recently collected evidence demonstrating the existence of such native terms is described here. The terms in question were corroborated independently by seven Jarawara speakers. Additional evidence for these native numbers is provided via the description of an associated tally mark system traditionally employed by the Jarawara. Combined with previous published claims on other Arawá languages, the data presented here suggest that number terms existed in Jarawara and other Arawá languages prior to contact with non-indigenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-590
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of American Linguistics
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Amazonian
  • Arawá
  • Jarawara
  • Number
  • Typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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