Nheengatu Language and Its Role in the Tactics of Construction of Indigenous Identity

Maria Sílvia Cintra
2018 Advances in Anthropology  
Speech communities and languages, independently of writing, do not define closed groups of people who understand one another but primarily determine relations between groups who do not understand one another: if there is language, it is fundamentally between those who do not speak the same tongue. Language is made for that, for translation, not for communication (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). Abstract Nheengatu is one of the co-official languages of São Gabriel da Cachoeira in the Amazon region
more » ... he Amazon region (AM/Brazil). About 8000 people in the Upper Rio Negro region speak it, and there exists a contemporary movement for its revitalization in the state of Pará (PA/Brazil). Based upon field research in both these regions, this paper bears reflections on the inter-relations existing between language and identity including references in the areas of Applied Linguistics, Culture Semiotics and Anthropology. I propose a discussion on Nheengatu language, which is often considered in a dysphoric way, i.e., as if it had been imposed on the natives, resulting only from the colonizers' strategies. I propose we can instead envisage it from the perspective concerning the tactics constructed by the aboriginals in order to preserve and reconquer their identity, i.e., from the point of view of a Poetics of Relation within a complex, contradictory and hybrid linguistic approach.
doi:10.4236/aa.2018.84012 fatcat:vi3ukuzo4bbgzf3l6mmikzgveu