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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘brazil

[LINK] “Uruguay’s Chinese Car Boom Ends on Cheap Brazil, India Imports”

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At first glance, Ken Parks’ Bloomberg article suggests that Uruguayans–at least car-buyers–benefit from a very competitive auto retail sector.

Uruguayans love their beef, wine and cheap Chinese cars that used to account for almost a quarter of new vehicle sales. But competition from low-cost Brazilian and Indian cars has sent Chinese sales into a tailspin this year.

Chinese passenger vehicle sales tumbled almost 34 percent year-on-year during the first 10 months of 2015, compared to a 9 percent decline in the total market, according to data from Uruguayan automotive trade group ACAU.

China’s market share in Uruguay, once the highest in Spanish-speaking South America, has plunged with sales. Brands such as BYD, Geely and Chery represented 17 percent of new passenger vehicle sales this year, down from 23 percent in 2014.

The devaluation of the Brazilian real, which has helped Volkswagen and Fiat factories in Brazil, and Suzuki imports from India have forced dealerships to cut prices on Chinese vehicles, Santiago Guelfi, a director at BYD and Peugeot distributor Sadar, said earlier this month.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Crooked Timber wonders what Nietzche would have to say about immigration.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the atmospheres of different exoplanets orbiting different kinds of stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Pluto and Charon may have iron cores.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Martin Shkreli’s newly-overpriced drug is being vastly underpriced by a new competitor.
  • Language Hat notes a Yiddish translation of a Chinese song.
  • Languages of the World argues that the Indo-Europeans are an identifiable people.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the nature of Chinese economic growth.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the fiscal constraints of Brazil and notes the interactions of the vulture funds with Peru.
  • Bruce Sterling on his tumblr shares a post looking at an American shantytown.
  • Supernova Condensate enthuses about Enceladus.
  • The Understanding Society Blog’s Daniel Little considers how to model organizational recruitment.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World blog wonders if the German economy will benefit from Merkel’s open door.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the menace of coordinated hype cycles.

[DM] “Some links on the Syrian refugee crisis”

I’ve a post up at Demography Matters gathering together links on the Syrian refugee crisis, looking at everything from Thomas Piketty’s approval of Germany’s intake, to South America’s probable failure to take in substantial numbers, to the first Syrians arriving on Prince Edward Island.

[LINK] “Reconstructing the Lifestyles of Three Pre-Historic Amazonian Tribes”

This brief post by Asya Perelstvaig at her Languages of the World constitutes still more evidence, this time linguistic, suggesting that current Amazonian cultures are survivors of a much larger and more complex society that collapsed, likely as a result of the post-colonial exchanges.

In my class on October 5, 2015, we talked about how ancestral languages can be reconstructed on the basis of their present-day descendants and how such linguistic reconstructions (particularly reconstructions of the vocabulary) can be used to reimagine the lives of the speakers of such ancestral languages. While most of our examples in class dealt with Indo-European languages (with a brief foray into the Polynesian world), here I would like to present another example where the same sort of socio-cultural reconstruction can be done on the basis of unwritten languages who offer us a rare glimpse into the lives of the their speakers’ linguistic ancestors. This example concerns three indigenous South American language families: Arawakan, Tukanoan, and Nadahup. These languages are spoken in the Upper Rio Negro region, on the border of Columbia and Brazil (see the map on the left adapted from muturzikin.com). The present-day Arawak languages are shown in pale-green, Tukanoan languages are shown in yellow, and Nadahup languages in brown. (The best-known language in the Nadahup family—at least in linguistic circles—is Nadëb, which exhibits the rarest Object-Subject-Verb order, found only in a handful of languages around the world, 4 in the WALS sample.) Of the three families, only the Nadahup is limited to this region, while Tukanoan languages are also spoken elsewhere through South America and Arawakan languages are found from Brazil to the Caribbean.

Epps (2015: 581) describes the present-day speakers of the languages in these three families who live in the region as follows:

“within the Upper Rio Negro region, the contemporary Arawak and Tukanoan peoples are settled river-dwellers who rely predominantly on fishing and bitter manioc cultivation for subsistence; the Nadahup are semi-nomadic forest-dwellers who prioritize hunting and gathering but also cultivate small garden plots.”

But did their ancestors live the same way? Since there is no indigenous form of writing, we must turn to contemporary languages and reconstruct the ancestral tongues. Such reconstructions were made by Payne (1991) for Proto-Arawakan, Chacon (2013) for Proto-Tukanoan, and Martins (2005) and Epps (forthcoming) for Proto-Nadahup. The relevant reconstructed words are given in the table below (adapted from Epps 2015: 582). The exact pronunciation of these reconstructed forms is not relevant for our present purposes; what matters is whether or not a given word reconstructs for a particular proto-language. A dash in a given table cell indicates that the word does not reconstruct for that family.

[. . .]

Since the only language for which the entire lexical set reconstructs is Proto-Arawakan, Epps concludes that its speakers “lived in settled villages, probably along larger rivers, and made use of ceramics, diverse domesticated plants… and animals … — consistent with archaeologists’ conception of early Arawak peoples as settled agriculturalists, much as they are today” (p. 581). In contrast, speakers of Proto-Tukanoan and Proto-Nadahup must have had very different lifestyles from those found among their descendants today. As can be seen from the table above, in Proto-Tukanoan a word for ‘canoe’ cannot be reconstructed. Similarly absent from the reconstructed Proto-Tukanoan vocabulary are “words for animals typical of larger rivers, as well as words for ‘canoe’, ‘paddle’, or ‘fish-trap’” (ibid). From this lexical gap, it has been concluded that speakers of Proto-Tukanoan were “less river-oriented than they are today” (ibid). However, the presence of a broad range of words for domesticated plants suggests that they engaged in agriculture. Likewise, the reconstruction of ceramic-related words means that speakers of Proto-Tukanoan manufactured ceramic goods.

As for speakers of Proto-Nadahup, they too must have had a different lifestyle from that of their present-day descendants. As mentioned above, today’s Nadahup peoples are “semi-nomadic forest dwellers who prioritize hunting and gathering but also cultivate small garden plots… [and] manufacture … ceramics” (ibid). Their ancestors, in contrast, appear to have neither “relied on domesticated plants, with the apparent exception of tobacco” (pp. 581-582) nor engaged in manufacturing ceramics since words for such objects are not reconstructed for the ancestral tongue.

Much more detail at the site.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on Olympics evictions in Brazil, compares school life in Boston and Haiti, and follows an elderly man climbing Mount Washington.
  • blogTO suggests jets will not be coming to the Toronto Island airport and argues the city is unlikely to legalize Uber.
  • The Broadside Blog examines the staggering level of income inequality in the United States.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, in real-life and science fiction, the problems with maintaining artificial economies and notes the complexities of the Pluto system.
  • Crooked Timber notes the problems of organized labour and Labour in the United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes how atmospheric oxygen may not automatically point to the sign of life.
  • The Dragon’s Tales maps volcanic heat flow on Io and wonders if that world has a subsurface magna ocean
  • Far Outliers notes a popular thief in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan and looks at the politicization of the German military after the 1944 coup.
  • Geocurrents calls for recognizing the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and Somaliland and looks at the geography of American poverty.
  • Language Log notes Sinified Japanese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the complexities of race and history in New Mexico.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that India unlike China cannot sustain global growth, approves of Snyder’s Black Earth, and notes poor economic outcomes for graduates of some American universities.
  • Otto Pohl is not optimistic about Ghana’s economic future.
  • The Planetary Society Blog evaluates the latest images from Mars.
  • pollotenchegg evaluates the 1931 Polish census in what is now western Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at why Syrian refugees will not be resettled in South America and observes that Mexico has birthright citizenship.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands describes the negative relationship for her between blogging and writing.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines rising mortality in Ukraine and notes changing ethnic compositions of Tajikistan’s populations.
  • Savage Minds talks about the importance of teaching climate change in anthropology.
  • Transit Toronto notes Toronto now has nine new streetcars.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi considers the situation of poor people who go to good schools.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the lack of Russian nationalism in the Donbas, observes the scale of the refugee problem in Ukraine, and looks at Russian alienation of Moldova.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos from the European migrant crisis.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the writing of numbers on the arms of refugees.
  • The Dragon’s Tales updates readers on the war front and on the domestic mood.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple’s divorce because of marriage equality.
  • Language Hat notes the perils of translating Alice in Wonderland with its rich wordplay.
  • Languages of the World considers the question of the identity of the Black Jews.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests the United Kingdom and Latin America should take on more Syrian refugees.
  • Spacing Toronto suggests Toronto can stand to learn from Philadelphia about preserving art in public spaces.
  • Torontoist maps the rooming houses of Toronto.
  • Towleroad follows the Kim Davis saga.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy warns of restrictive copyright law lurking in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the high male mortality in Russia and refers to a writer who compares Putin positively to Alexander Nevsky.

[LINK] “Latin America’s 100 Years of Slow Growth”

Bloomberg View’s Justin Fox writes, with charts, about the slow economic growth over Latin America over the past century. Only Chile shows signs of converging strongly and consistently towards high-income levels.

[E]vident in [Hans] Rosling’s animations is the great breakout to much-higher living standards that the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand made in the 1800s, followed by the great catchup in Asia since the middle of the 20th century. Some African countries have begun making big strides, too, although sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s poorest region by far.

Then there’s Latin America and the Caribbean, whose part in this story has always intrigued and saddened me. In the 19th century, some of the countries and colonies to the south of the U.S. were among the world’s most affluent. In the 20th century most of them have become much more affluent in an absolute sense (Haiti is the tragic exception). They have nonetheless lost relative ground, especially during the past half-century, as rich countries just got richer and Asian nations broke through to wealth.

[. . .]

Compared to these other, more dynamic economies, Latin America seems to have been making hardly any progress. I’m not even going to try to go into all the possible reasons for this, in part because they vary greatly among countries. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think either U.S. imperialism or persistent bad luck is a satisfactory explanation for Latin America’s slow growth. Clearly these — with the possible exception of Chile — have not been among the world’s best-managed economies. And that really is too bad.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm


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