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Tehuelche language: Map

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Tehuelche is a nearly extinct Chon language spoken by four people in Patagonia out of an ethnic group of 200. They were originally nomadic hunters from Chile. It is also known as Aonikenk or Aonek'o 'ajen. The decline of the language started with the Araucanization of Patagonia, when many Tehuelche tribes adopted Mapudungun as main language. Later during the XIX and XX century Spanish replaced both as Argentina and Chilemarker took possession of Patagonia.

Clasification

Tehuelche belongs to the Chon family, together with Teushen, Selk'nam and Haush.

Phonology

Vowels

Tehuelche has 3 vocalic qualities which can be short or long. (Fernandez 1988: 87-88)
Front Central Back
Mid
Open


Consonants

Tehuelche has 25 consonantal phonemes. Stops can be plain, glottalized or voiced. (Fernández 1998: 88-89)
Labial Dental Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasals
Stops plain (č)
glottalized (č')
voiced
Fricatives (š)
Semivowels
Lateral approximant
Trill


Grammar

Pronoun

Singular Dual Plural
1 person ja: okwa: ošwa:
2 person ma: mkma: mšma:
3 person ta: tkta: tšta:


Noun

Verb

References

Fernández Garay, Ana V. (1997): Testimonios de los últimos tehuelches. Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Fernández Garay, Ana V. (1998): El tehuelche. Una lengua en vías de extinción. Valdivia: Universidad Austral de Chile [Anejos de Estudios Filológicos 15].

Fernández Garay, Ana V. (2004): Diccionario tehuelche-español / índice español-tehuelche. Leiden: University of Leiden [Indigenous Languages of Latin America 4].

Viegas Barros, J. Pedro (2005): Voces en el viento. Raíces lingüísticas de la Patagonia. Buenos Aires: Mondragón.

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