Summary

The aim of the project is to unravel the genetic and contact relations between the indigenous languages of Mesoamerica (Mexico and western Central America) and the Middle Andes region (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia), as part of a larger endeavour to understand the historical process of the peopling of the Americas as a whole. The deep genetic links between the two regions will be investigated by systematically comparing pairs of languages and language phyla between which no genetic or contact relation has been established before. The project seeks to identify pre-colonial linguistic connections at two levels of antiquity: (i) commonly inherited similarities related to the earliest migrations, and (ii) similarities due to secondary contact between the two regions after they had developed a relatively high population density.