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Matses language

The Matses language (sometimes called Mayoruna) is an indigenous language of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon basin which belongs to the Panoan language family and is spoken by ca. 2000 Matses people (Fleck 2006). The language is vigorous and is spoken by all age groups in the Matses communities. In the Matses communities several other indigenous languages are also spoken by women who have been captured from neighboring tribes and some mixture of the languages occur .


The language is spoken in the Loreto Region of Peru and the Amazonas state of Brazil, along the Javari River and its tributaries. A large community is found at Yaquerana in the Maynas Province of Loreto.


Along with the languages of the Matis and Korubo peoples, Matses constitutes the Mayoruna subgroup of the Panoan languages.


According to Fleck (2003) Matses has six vowels and 18 consonants.


The vowel system of Matses is peculiar in that both of its back vowels are unrounded. They should accurately be represented as and but the convention is to transcribe them with and .


The consonants of Matses according to Fleck (2003).


The Matses language is primarily suffixing and highly synthetic with many morphological possibilities and potentially very long words. There is body-part prefixation, but no productive noun incorporation (Fleck 2006b). Inflectional and class-changing

morphology is fusional, while non-class-changing derivational morphology is mostly agglutinative. Matses is predominantly dependent-marking and uses ergative/absolutive case-marking. Its basic word order is SOV.


Fields, Harriet L. & Mary Ruth Wise (1976) Bosquejo de la Fonologia Matses (Mayoruna), Datos Etno-Linguisticos No 31, SIL, Lima Peru [*]

Fleck, David W. (2003) A grammar of Matses. PhD. Dissertation presented at Rice University found at Rice University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Fleck, David W. (2006) Antipassive in Matses. Studies in Language, Volume 30, Number 3, pp. 551-573(23)

Fleck, David W. (2006b) "Body-Part Prefixes in Matses: Derivation or Noun Incorporation?", IJAL 72,1, 59-96.

Ethnologue on Matses

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Matses language

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