"A Banana, a Chicken, and a Gun Wander into a Continent...": A Reanalysis of Nordenskiöld’s 1922 Data on South American Loanwords and Wanderwörter

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In 1922 Swedish archeologist Erland Nordenskiöld published his seminal work in linguistic anthropology titled "Deductions suggested by the geographical distributions of some post- colonial words used by the Indians of South America". In this book Nordenskiöld collected and mapped hundreds of Indigenous words for items brought over to South America by Europeans. In this Research Master's thesis, I have digitized and analyzed the datasets relating to three cultural items collected in Nordenskiöld’s book: bananas, chickens, and firearms. The data used for this research was complemented with more novel data to update transcriptions and language names to discern plausible word dispersal. Taking insights from anthropology, this thesis also complements the data by seeking out and analyzing ethnographies for relevant information concerning the various Amazonian communities mentioned in Nordenskiöld’s datasets. The results of this thesis yielded updated scans of Nordenskiöld’s maps and tables, and a database with updated referents from Nordenskiöld's dataset. Based on the results, I identify new pseudo-cognate groups and calque clusters not elaborated upon by Nordenskiöld and discuss how the different patterns of cultural item dispersal reflect different periods in the Amazon from the beginning of colonization by Europeans, to the subsequent expansion of non-Indigenous settlers.
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