University of Nebraska Press


Date of this Version

Spring 2013


© 2013 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska,675691.aspx


Published through the Recovering Languages and Literacies of the Americas initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is the first descriptive grammar of Kotiria (Wanano), a member of the Tukanoan language family spoken in the Vaupes River basin of Colombia and Brazil in the northwest Amazon rain forest. The Kotirias have lived in this remote region for more than seven hundred years and participate in the complex Vaupes social system characterized by longstanding linguistic and cultural interaction. The Kotirias remained relatively isolated from the dominant societies until the early part of the twentieth century, when the region began to experience increasing outside influence leading to processes of rapid social and linguistic change. Today the Kotirias number only about sixteen hundred people and their language, though still used in traditional communities, is rapidly becoming endangered.

Kristine Stenzel draws on eight years of intensive work with the Kotirias to promote, record, and revitalize their language. Working with dozens of native speakers and drawing on numerous oral narratives and written texts, this book is the first comprehensive study of this endangered language and one of the few reference grammars of this language family.