Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Steve Parker


The Arara people of Para, Brazil, as a whole, are remnants or survivors of some larger Cariban groups who descended from the headwaters of the upper Xingu to the mid and low areas of this river by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Now they live in three different villages: Maia, Cachoeira Seca and Laranjal.

The present thesis aims to describe thirteen different ludlings or "play languages" that elderly Arara people from Laranjal know and sometimes use in talking to pets. Play languages are linguistic forms that are purposely manipulated at some level. The strategies which the Arara people use to manipulate the base language to form their ludlings are the addition of affixes and/or certain phonological modifications, such as copying vowels, nasalization, murmur, and lateralization of flaps. The addition of affixes may trigger some phonological processes, such as vowel deletion and haplology. In addition to the ludlings, an informal sketch of Arara phonology is presented as part of the background for the discussion of the "language games", as well as a brief overview of Arara grammar.

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