South American Animal Names/Introduction


Purpose and scope edit

South America is the most biologically and linguistically continent in the world. With more than 100 language families and isolates, South America hosts more linguistic diversity than even New Guinea and Africa.

As an "ethnolinguistic field guide," this book is a hybrid between an etymological dictionary and a biological field guide, similar to Ross et al. (2011) and Chamberlain (2018). Tropical lowland indigenous South American (i.e., "Amazonian") languages are covered in this book. Central American, Andean, southern South American (Patagonian, etc.) languages are not included.

Data sources edit

In the 21st century, there has been a tremendous amount of new linguistic data coming out of Brazil, including both first-hand linguistic field data and proto-language reconstructions. Many of these lexical resources document hundreds of plants and animals indigenous names for each language or proto-language along with their respective scientific names and taxonomies, thanks to the prolific research output of scholars such as Henri Ramirez, Thiago Chacon, and many others. Many of these dictionaries and lexicons actually devote nearly half of their lexical entries to plant and animal names.

Most of the linguistic data sources used for this book are Portuguese-language sources published in Brazil, since output for linguistic research in Brazil has greatly outpaced that of its Spanish-speaking neighbors in Latin America. About one-third of the lexical resources utilized for this book are from English-language and Spanish-language resources. Most of the original data sources cited in this book can also be found in Portuguese Wikipedia articles and Portuguese Wiktionary appendices, and sometimes also in Spanish Wikipedia articles, English Wikipedia articles, and English Wiktionary appendices.

This book is a compilation of previously published data from academic sources, and does not include any unpublished field notes, original field research, and so forth. The book was started in July 2021 and is an ongoing project.

Anyone can add lexical entries to this book, but all sources must be cited with reliable academic sources.

Portuguese names edit

Portuguese names of plant and animal often, but not always, make use of hyphens. Whereas some sources prefer to omit hyphens, this book uses hyphens in Portuguese plant and animal names.

Most Portuguese plant and animal names are actually of Tupi (Língua Geral / Tupinambá) origin. By default, primary stress typically falls on final syllables in Tupi loanwords.

Many Portuguese names do not have one-on-one correspondences with English names. For example, Brazilian Portuguese jabuti (borrowed from Tupi) is a cover term referring to both the red-footed tortoise and yellow-footed tortoise. As a result, all original Portuguese glosses are cited in this book to avoid any unintended semantic loss or errors.

Spanish names edit

Spanish names of plants and animals in the Peruvian Amazon and Bolivian Amazon are much more irregular than Brazilian Portuguese names. Amazonian Spanish varieties such as Loreto Spanish (in Peru) and Camba Spanish (in Bolivia) have never been standardized, so many Spanish plant and animal names are little-known dialectal terms that are restricted to local regions and derived from various indigenous languages. Because of these irregularities and difficulties matching dialectal Spanish names with scientific names, this book focuses more on Portuguese than Spanish glosses.

The Matsés animal and plant names annex in the Spanish Wikipedia is a good resource for checking Amazonian Spanish names for animals and plants with their respective scientific names.

Citing edit

Since all Wikibooks works are licensed under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License, linguistic data from this book may be freely reused and adapted. A suggsted citation is:

  • Wikibooks contributors. (current year). South American Animal Names. Wikibooks. Accessed on (date).

Alternatively, the data sources listed in this book can also be cited.