Samiksha Jaiswal

Guanahatabey language

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Native to  Cuba
Extinct  16th century
Ethnicity  Guanahatabey
ISO 639-3  None (mis)
Guanahatabey language
Region  Pinar del Río Province and Isla de la Juventud
Language family  unclassified (one of the pre-Arawakan languages of the Greater Antilles)

Guanahatabey (Guanajatabey) was the language of the Guanahatabey people, an archaic hunter-gatherer society living in western Cuba until the 16th century. Very little is known of it, as the Guanahatabey died off early in the period of Spanish colonization before substantial information about them was recorded. Evidence suggests it was distinct from the Taíno language spoken in the rest of the island.

Description

The Guanahatabey were archaic hunter-gathers and appear to have predated the agricultural Ciboney, a Taíno group who inhabited most of Cuba. By the contact period, they lived primarily in far western Pinar del Río Province, which was never settled by the Ciboney or Classic Taíno of the eastern island, and was colonized by the Spanish relatively late. Spanish accounts indicate that Guanahatabey was distinct from and mutually unintelligible with the Taíno language spoken in the rest of Cuba and throughout the Caribbean. Not a single word of the Guanahatabey language survives. However, Julian Granberry and Gary Vescelius have identified five placenames that they consider non-Taíno, and which may thus derive from Guanahatabey. Granberry and Vescelius argue that the names have parallels in the Warao language, and further suggest a possible connection with the Macoris language of Hispaniola.

References

Guanahatabey language Wikipedia


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