Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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Conférence Magnus Pharao Hansen (Université de Copenhague)
Villejuif - S. 511 - 10h00-12h00

Proto-Nahuatl and beyond: Digging deeper into Nahuan linguistic prehistory

The Nahuatl language of Mexico has been richly documented in the vast corpus of written materials produced in the colonial period. Nevertheless, we know little about the pre-colonial history of the language and its many dialects, and what we can know is constrained by limited documentation of the dialectal variation of the language, and the lack of thorough systematic comparison between them, and between Nahuan and its closest relatives the other Southen Uto-Aztecan languages, Cora, Huichol, Tepiman and Taracahitic. By comparing Nahuan dialects and searching for shared innovations we may achieve a better understanding of the linguistic history that brught them about, and by extension of the migration history that brought the dialects to their current locations. By comparing with Cora and Huichol we may achieve a better understanding of what the pre-Nahua language was before entering Mesoamerica, and how it changed in response to contact with Mesoamerican languages. This lecture makes a foray into the deep history of the Nahuan language group, presenting new evidence for a phylogeny of the Nahuan dialects and for grouping pre-Nahuan together with Corachol as a subgroup within Southern Uto-Aztecan.