South-America

The South American subproject closely investigates patterns of verbal morphology in three geographically widespread families, Quechuan, Cariban, and Tupian and aims to account for the evolution of the synchronic distribution of these patterns on the basis of phylo-geographical modeling developed by the methods sub-project and tested for the well-studied families Celtic and Romance. The special challenge of the South American data is to interpret distributional patterns in the absence of a number of (linguistic and extra-linguistic) calibration points. In the light of this challenge, the South American subproject has different types of collaboration potentials with the other sub-projects. The Sino-Tibetan sub-project can be regarded as its direct sister project with similar challenges, although in completely different geographical and cultural circumstances. The Celtic/Romance sub-project forms the test case for the methodology that will be applied to the Sino-Tibetan and South American data. The Celtic/Romance sub-project can be based on better understood and wider-ranging data, which gives us more tools for interpreting the relation between morphological (genealogical and areal) patterns and geographical space. Understanding the historical processes that have led to the current distributions will help the Sino-Tibetan and South American sub-projects to make better judgments about the relevant factors in shaping morphological structures. In order to do this, the South American project, like the other areal projects, relies on the methodology sub-project and the Celtic/Romance test beds.