Greater Blogazonia

Nanti linguistics and ethnography


Nanti is an Arawak language spoken by some 450 people, most of whom live near the headwaters of the Camisea and Timpia Rivers, in lowland southeastern Peru. It is a language of the Kampan branch of Arawak, which includes Asháninka, Ashéninka, Kakinte, Matsigenka, and Nomatsigenga (spellings vary), and is most closely related to Matsigenka. Nanti economic life is based primarily on manioc horticulture, hunting, fishing, and gathering, although since the early 1990s, Nantis have also actively sought to acquire manufactured goods such as metal tools from those who have them.

Migero, the leader of the Nanti community of Montetoni, and I collaborate on a video recording intended for Peruvian government officials (July 2009)

Since 1995, my wife Christine Beier and I have worked with the Nanti communities of Montetoni and Marankehari on issues relating to health, education, and land rights, and since 1996 we have done so under the rubric of Cabeceras Aid Project, a non-profit organization that we formed to support this work. Since 1997 we have both worked hard to learn to speak Nanti — essential, since Nantis are mainly monolingual — and since 2000 we have carried out linguistic and ethnographic fieldwork with Nantis, mostly in the community of Montetoni.

Recently, however, a blog post I came across (here) made me realize that although I have produced a fair amount of linguistic work on Nanti and ethnographic work on Nanti society over the years, it is not all necessarily particularly easy to locate. This post is intended as a first step towards changing that. What follows is a bibliography of works I have written related either to Nanti or Nanti society, arranged in date order. And please, if anyone actually reads anything from this bibliography, and is inclined to ask questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them


2008. Nanti evidential practice: Language, knowledge, and social action in an Amazonian society. PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. [pdf]


2007. with Christine Beier. Una breve historia del pueblo Nanti hasta el año 2004 [A brief history of the Nanti people until 2004]. Cabeceras Aid Project. [pdf]


2006. The moral implications of evidentiality in Nanti society: Epistemic distance as a pragmatic metaphor for moral responsibility. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Symposium About Language and Society–Austin. Vol. 13. [pdf]

2006. La incorporación nominal y los clasificadores verbales en Nanti (Kampa, Arawak) [Noun incorporation and verbal classifiers in Nanti (Kampa, Arawak)]. Proceedings of the Second Conference on the Indigenous Languages of Latin America. [pdf]


2005. with Megan Crowhurst. Iterative footing and prominence-driven stress in Nanti (Kampa). Language. Vol. 81 (1). pp 47-95. [pdf]


2004. Between grammar and poetry: The structure of Nanti karintaa chants. Proceedings of the Eleventh Symposium About Language and Society–Austin. Vol. 11. [pdf]

2005. El estatus sintáctico de los marcadores de persona en el idioma Nanti (Campa, Arawak) [The syntactic status of person markers in the Nanti language (Campa, Arawak)]. Lengua y Sociedad 7 (2). pp 21-32. [pdf]


2002. Experience, knowledge, and reported speech in an Amazonian society: The Nanti of southeastern Peru. Proceedings of the Ninth Symposium About Language and Society–Austin. Vol. 9. [pdf]

2002. with Christine Beier. Tierra, recursos y política: factores que afectan la titulación de las comunidades Nantis de Montetoni y Malanksiari [Land, resources, and politics: factors that affect the titling of the Nanti communities of Montetoni and Malanksiari]. Cabeceras Aid Project. [pdf]


2001. Speech reporting practices and subjectivities: Evidence from an Amazonian society. Proceedings of the 26th Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society. [pdf]


1998. with Christine Beier. The Camisea Nanti – a report on factors affecting their autonomy and welfare. Cabeceras Aid Project Report. [html]

My neighbors in Montetoni and I working on Nanti bird terminology (March 2005)