Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Lecture | Language & the Human Past Lecture Series

CANCELLED: Disease and Violence in Shift from Omurano to Urarina on the Urituyacu River in Peru

Friday 9 September 2022
Language and the human past
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

This lecture is cancelled due to the train strike!


Omurano is a language isolate of the Loreto region of Peru with documentation limited to approximately 250 lexical items listed in Tessmann (1930:455-458) and some 40 roots and 15 (interrelated) phrases remembered in 2013 (O'Hagan in press). In this presentation, I discuss the findings of fieldwork carried out in 2013 and 2022 with speakers of Urarina (isolate), many with Omurano ancestry, on the Urituyacu River. Omuranos were already a small group at the time of their first known mention in 1743, restricted to the headwaters of the Nucuray and Urituyacu rivers (and possibly the Tigrillo and Chambira to the east). They subsequently avoided sustained interactions with Jesuits, and were restricted to a single settlement on the upper Urituyacu by the mid-1920s, with some individuals intermarried with Urarina speakers in other communities. By 1945, this community had disappeared primarily due to disease, and around 1953 a raid carried out by Kandozis (speakers of a third isolate) removed remaining Omurano speakers from the community of Triunfo. I also review grammatical features evidencing the status of Omurano, Urarina, and Kandozi as isolates, despite centuries of contact.

This website uses cookies.  More information.