The triple Amazon frontier

In the last week of May (23-28 May), the National University of Colombia and the University of the State of Amazonas hosted the 6th edition of Amazonicas, a two-year conference devoted to the most fascinating languages that one can find, in my biased opinion: Amazonian languages.


The conference was as great as it has always been, although I’m a rookie that has only seen it since the 5th edition in Belém, two years ago. As usual, there were tons of exciting information on Amazonian languages, this time mostly on negation and historical phonology, the topics chosen for the syntax and phonology sessions. The language family session was devoted to Tukano and Makú languages, geographically relevant to the Leticia area.

amazon_map pol

The Leticia-Tabatinga area is quite different from the eastern part of the Amazon basin. My fieldwork has been focused on communities in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso in Brazil, between the Tapajós and the Tocantins, with a tropical climate but a more sharp distinction between a rainy and a dry seasons (more on landscape and climate in a future post). Leticia itself is a city with a lot of elements that call back to Amazonian towns and small cities in Eastern Amazonia, but the rainforest feel is a lot more intense and it has non-Brazilian elements like the tuk-tuk taxis or the juices of Western Amazonian fruits. A couple of excursions were also a chance to see some more of the landscape and fauna of the area.


Leticia houses near the river.

Amazónicas 6 was in better shape than ever, an incredible amount of new information on Amazonian languages was presented and the oxygenating effect of meeting with the amazonianist community was unbeatable. I look forward to the next edition in Ecuador, and I hope that the announced changes manage to keep the essence of this one-of-a-kind conference.


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