A grammar of Kwaza by Hein van der Voort

By Hein van der Voort

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Dequech insists that the Kwaza were called ['knwaja], but that this is not necessarily their original autodenomination. In his popular account of the expedition (1993b) he mentions Aikanã speaking of a feared tribe called Arara on the left side of the Pimenta Bueno at the height of the São Pedro tributary. If these were Kwaza too, this would be the first documented occurrence of Arara ‘parrot’ as the nickname which the Kwaza themselves despise. 8 1. Introduction fortunately the boat which contained the physical ethnographical collection was bombarded by the Americans16 off the east coast of Brazil in 1943.

7. Fieldwork situation and methodology 17 maintain good relationships with the rest of the reserve. Furthermore, the members of family II were rather reserved towards other people. I visited family II often and although we became good friends, and I learnt a lot from them about Kwaza, they always remained very shy and insecure as linguistic consultants. Finally, my impression on the whole is that the grammar of the language is identical in both families. Phonological differences, which may be of dialectal nature, were documented in several recorded texts and wordlists.

The situation on the Rio Branco and Rio Guaporé reserves can to a certain extent be considered as the reverse. There, chicha is still brewed and consumed almost daily in immense quantities, shamans are still in high esteem and take paricá, but the languages have nearly disappeared. Also, the people in these latter reserves are notably more extroverted in their behaviour. Of course many other factors must be involved in the explanation of these differences, but I find it conspicuous that the Tubarão-Latundê reserve has been christianised by Protestant missions whereas the other two reserves were christianised by Catholic missions.

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