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 for Peruvian government officials (July 2009)

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 work Nanti bird terminology (March 2005)

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


When I went on my blogging hiatus some 13 months ago, I didn’t just stop posting here, I stopped reading linguistics blogs altogether. The one unanticipated benefit of my blog fast is that it has been very interesting to reacquaint myself with all the blogs I used to visit. It’s been a bit like visiting an old neighborhood after having been away for, well, 13 months. And I’ve also found some new blogs that have been started since I stopped paying attention.

I was very pleased, for example, to run across another blog written by a linguistic anthropologist: Glossographia. Interestingly, the author, Stephen Chrisomalis, appears to represent the somewhat under-represented materialist strand in thinking about the intersection of language and culture. This is perhaps most evident in this interesting post (here) about his vision of a coherent linguistic anthropology constructed around an evolutionary account of language.

Río Ocylmo is a new blog written by Guido Pilares, a Peruvian linguistics grad student with an interest in Peruvian Amazonian languages. Like me, Pilares has a strong interest in indigenous lowland southeastern Peru, and his posts combined an interest in the history, ethnography, and linguistics of these groups with a present day concern with indigenous rights. Check it out.

And, what about the old neighborhood? Language Log is going as strong as ever and seems to have added some new blood. I had to smile when I visited Anggarrgoon, which included a recent post in which its author, Claire Bowern, apologized for not having posted anything for a month. This made me wonder what penance *I* should perform after being AWOL for 13 months.

I was pleased to see that Mark Dingemanse’s The Ideophone is still active. I remember wondering, when Mark first started his blog, how long one could keep blogging about ideophones, but I actually think that his blog is actually one of the best linguistics blogs out there. Since most of the good and vital academic blogs are group blogs, I think Mark’s solo effort especially stands out.

Savage Minds is still going strong, and has undergone a cosmetic makeover, with the Minds in charge having changed their former pansy-filled banner for a somewhat blah brown one. A pansy graphic remains off to one side, but I’ll miss the original field of pansies. Perhaps reflecting the general marginalization of matters linguistic in anthropology, there doesn’t seem to be too much interest in language at SM right now — but see a series posts by Kerim Friedman on learning an endangered language (here, here, here, and here). Interestingly I haven’t seen much sign of the entertainingly splenetic exchanges that used to liven up the comments in times past — whence this new civility?

Finally Penultimately, Nila Vigil is still very active at Instituto Linguistico de Invierno, which is a nice way to keep up to speed on indigenous rights politics in Peru, especially as they relate to issues of language.

And finally, Peter Austin reminded me of a serious omission on my part: Transient Languages and Cultures, the excellent group blog which focuses on issues of language endangerment and revitalization (with a soft spot for Australian languages), language documentation and archiving, and methodological and ethical issues involved in fieldwork. This blog is as active as ever, and is definitely worth visiting even if your areal interests lie elsewhere.

Is there anything, dear readers, that I have missed that I should take a look at?

The fourth biennial Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA IV) will be held at the University of Texas at Austin, October 29-31, 2009. The preliminary program can be downloaded here.

Amazonian languages are particularly well represented this year. Apart from a keynote talk by Elsa Gomez-Imbert on the Tukanoan family, talks will be given on: Ika (Henrik Bergqvist), Shuar (Tuntiak Katan), Iquito (Cynthia Anderson), Omagua (Lev Michael), Kubeo (Thiago Costa Chacón), Ese Ejja (Marine Vuillermet), Nanti (Christine Beier), Guaraní (Cynthia Clopper and Judith Tonhauser), Tikuna (Karina Sullón Acosta), Paresi-Haliti (Ana Paula Brandão), Yanoama (Helder Perri Ferreira), Kakua (Katherine Bolaños and Patience Epps), and Kokama (Rosa Vallejos Yopán).