Uchumataqu: Research in Progress on the Bolivian Altiplano

Pieter Muysken

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Abstract

In this paper the current linguistic situation of the Uru, who live near Lake Titicaca (Bolivia) is discussed. An overview is given of earlier studies of the language, in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Then I focus on possible causes of the decline of the language of the Uru, Uchumataqu: persistent droughts in the 1930s, intermarriage with the surrounding Aymara and ethnic reorientation. In addition to losing ground to Aymara and Spanish, Uchumataqu has undergone considerable Aymara structural influence. Subsequently, I summarise my own research on the language, and the possibilities of linguistic studies serving community goals. Finally, the chances for survival are discussed, which depend in part on large-scale developments, or the absence thereof, in the Bolivian economy and society.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Muysken, Pieter. Uchumataqu: Research in Progress on the Bolivian Altiplano. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2002, vol. 4, no.2, pp. 235-247. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol4/issue2/art5

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