Brazilian Languages – PART I
by Antônio Neto
Why study indigenous languages?
“- Are you crazy?”
“- Why study this?”
These questions are very common when people was informed about some jobs of linguists, anthropologists, etc. In countries which monolingual ideologies had sucessfully, these kind of surprising expressions are often related to idea that only the oficial language exists. Brazil, for example, had imposed portuguese language along colonizational process. Marquês de Pombal was a deciding dictator to brazilian language policy, very related to the construction of brazilian indetity. This policy had concurred with Jesuit’s banishment from Brazil. Perhaps, for this reason, missionaries domines the knowledge about indigenous languages of Brazil and all of America far to this date.
Nowadays, the maintance of an autochthonous language its a right, estabilished by Unesco. Unfortunately, improvement the knowledge about all aspects of life and habitat of a particular ethnic group its a hard and discredited work. Brazil has approximately 180 indigenous languages and this means a top position at ranking of language diversity. Next posts will discuss some aspects of brazilian languages and its relation to indigenous people suffering in Brazil.