About

My name is Eduardo Rivail Ribeiro. I’m a Brazilian linguist interested in the documentation of indigenous South American languages (particularly those of the Macro-Jê stock). I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago’s Department of Linguistics and currently live in Baltimore, Maryland, with my wife and kids. Kawina is my Karajá name, given to me by a friend from the Southern Karajá village of Krehãwa (Araguaia River, Central Brazil).

Besides being interested in all things Karajá (the Macro-Jê language which is the topic of both my MA thesis and my PhD dissertation), I’m mainly interested in historical linguistics and morphology (and, better yet, a combination of both). I’m currently working on:

  • my (rather overdue) PhD dissertation, “A Grammar of Karajá”, which I shall have defended by the end of the current year;
  • a reconstruction of Proto-Jê, which will soon be submitted for publication;
  • a number of short papers on specific comparative topics (a comparison among the poorly-documented Macro-Jê languages of the Brazilian northeast, an investigation into the diachronic origins of a pattern of replacive morphology in Karajá, the description of some unsuspected caveats of long-range genetic comparison, etc.).
  • a paper, with Dutch linguist Hein van der Voort, in which we propose the inclusion of the Jabuti family into the Macro-Jê stock. Although this claim is not completely original (we follow in the footsteps of the great ethnographer Curt Nimuendaju), it is a potentially controversial one.

In this site, I intend to write about topics that fascinate, puzzle, amaze, and amuse me—languages and their speakers. Some of these notes will eventually evolve into academic works, whereas many (maybe most) of them will simply be forgotten (hopefully); in both cases, this site will have served its purpose of uncluttering my mind.