|Native to||Rural areas of São Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, south Minas Gerais, Paraná|
|Native speakers||Unknown. There are about 6 millions rural inhabitants in the linguistic area  (date missing)|
Caipira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kajˈpiɾɐ] ( listen); (Old Tupi ka'apir or kaa-pira, which means "bush cutter") is a Brazilian Portuguese dialect spoken in the states of São Paulo and neighboring areas in Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, the south of Minas Gerais, part of Paraná and Santa Catarina.
The formation of caipira dialect began with the arrival of the Portuguese in São Vicente in the fifteenth century. Ongoing research points several influences, such as Galician-Portuguese, represented in some archaic aspects of the dialect, and the língua geral paulista, a Tupian Portuguese-like Creole language codified by the Jesuits. The westward colonial expansion through the Bandeirantes expedition spread the dialect throughout a dialect and cultural continuum called Paulistania in the provinces of São Paulo, Mato Grosso (and later Mato Grosso do Sul as well Rondônia depending on viewpoint), Goiás (latter with Federal District), Minas Gerais
In 1920's the scholar Amadeu Amaral published a grammar and predicted the imininent dialect death in face of urbanization and the coming mass immigration wave due to coffee monoculture. However, the dialect survived in rural subculture, with music, folk stories (causos), and substratum in city-dwellers' speech, recorded by folklorists and linguists.
Although the caipira accent originated in the state of São Paulo, the middle and upper class sociolect of the state capital is now a very different variety closer to standard Portuguese, albeit with some remotely Italian-influenced elements – while worker class paulistanos may sound somewhat caipira-like to people of other parts of Brazil, such as Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Caipira is spoken mostly in the countryside.
Phonetically, the most important differences in comparison with standard Brazilian Portuguese are the postalveolar or retroflex approximants ([ɹ̠ ~ ɻ]) for ⟨r⟩ as allophone of European and paulistano /ɾ/ in the syllable coda (/ʁ/ in the syllable coda for most Brazilian dialects), and the merger of /ʎ/ (written ⟨lh⟩ in Portuguese) into the semivowel [j], as in Spanish yeísmo. Coda ⟨l⟩ is frequently modified into [ɹ̠ ~ ɻ], instead of the [u̯ ~ ʊ̯] used in most of Brazil.
Take not that the most common coda ar allophones of caipira is not the same of those in urban areas of hinterland São Paulo and some speakers of the capital and the coast, namely, alveolar approximant [ɹ] and r-colored vowel. Some caipira speakers may use those instead, while others may not merge /ʎ/ into [j] or may vocalize their ells. Rarer pronunciations include using approximants for all instances where European speakers of Portuguese would have /ɾ/, including intervocallic and post-consonantal ones (like in American English), or using a palatal approximant [j] instead of a rhotic approximant, though this, while more common in the caipira area due to its particular phonology, is more often associated with speech-language pathology.
There are other important changes, as in the following examples:
|Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo||Caipira||English|
|Spelling||Pronunciation (IPA)||Pronunciation spelling||Pronunciation (IPA)|
|flor||[ˈfloʁ ~ ˈflo(ɾ)]||frô, flô||[ˈfɾo ~ ˈflo]||flower|
|falso||[ˈfau̯su ~ ˈfaʊ̯sʊ]||farso||[ˈfaɻsʊ]||false|
|melhor||[me̞ˈʎɔχ ~ mɪˈʎɔ(ɾ)]||mió, mior||[miˈjɔ ~ miˈɔɻ]||better|
|voar||[vuˈaʁ ~ vʊˈa(ɾ)]||avuá||[ɐ̞vʊˈa]||to fly|
|por quê?||[puʀˈke ~ poɾˈke]||pur quê?||[puɻˈke ~ pʊɻˈke]||why?|
|você||[voˈse]||ocê, cê||[o̞ˈse ~ se]||you (informal)|
|ganhamos||[ɡɐ̃ˈ ȷ̃ɐ̃muɕ ~ ɡɐˈ ȷ̃ɐ̃mʊs]||ganhemo||[ɡɐ̃ˈ ȷ̃ẽ̞mʊ]||we won|
|chegamos||[ɕⁱˈgɐ̃muɕ ~ ɕeˈgɐ̃mʊs]||cheguemo||[ɕɛˈgẽ̞mʊ]||we came|
|voltamos||[vo̞u̯ˈtɐ̃muɕ ~ voːˈtɐ̃mʊs]||vortemo||[vo̞ɻˈtẽ̞mʊ]||we came back|
|bêbado||[ˈbeβɐdu ~ ˈbebadʊ]||beudo||[ˈbeʊ̯dʊ]||drunk|
Morphology and syntax
There are some significant differences in caipira morphology and syntax. For example:
- The negative adverb não has distinct strong and weak forms: não [nɐ̃ʊ̯̃] in short replies, and num [nʊ̃] for negative phrases – but it by no means it is restricted to the caipira area, being present in the colloquial speech of Rio de Janeiro, for example.
- In plural forms only the article or pronoun is inflected, and the adjective often remains uninflected, e.g.: São Paulo city's Portuguese: essas coisas bonitas [ˈɛsɐsˈ koi̯zɐz bʊˈn̠ʲitɐs] "those beautiful things" (those-PL beautiful-PL thing-PL) ↔ caipira: essas coisa bonita [ˈ(ɛ)sɐsˈ koi̯zɐ bʊˈn̠ʲitɐ] (those-PL beautiful-∅ thing-∅) – but by no means it is restricted to the caipira area, being a general trait of the so-called Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese.
Caipira is the Brazilian dialect by far most influenced by the línguas gerais, said to be a recent decreolization of them into more standard Brazilian Portuguese. Nevertheless, this decreolization was successful, and despite all these differences, a speaker of Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese of other regions has no difficulty in understanding caipira at all, while a foreigner that learned to deal only with standard lusitanizing Brazilian Portuguese may have as difficulty with caipira as they would have with other colloquial and vernacular registers of the language.
There is no standard orthography, and Brazilians are taught only the standard variant when learning Portuguese in schools (among the reasons why the dialect was often thought of as endangered in the course of socio-economic development of the country). A non-standard orthography intended to convey caipira pronunciation is featured prominently in the popular children's comic book Chico Bento, in which some (but not all) characters speak in this dialect.
- 2010 Census
- Ataliba T. de Castilho (Org. 2007). História do Português Paulista. Série Estudos - Vol. I. São Paulo: Setor de Publicações do IEL / Unicamp
- Ribeiro, Darcy. Os Brasileiros
- Amaral, Amadeu . O Dialeto Caipira. São Paulo: Casa Editora “O livro”, 1920.
- Garcia, Rosicleide Rodrigues. Para o estudo da formação e expansão do dialeto caipira em Capivari. São Paulo: USP, 2009.
- Pires, Cornélio . Conversas ao pé do fogo - IMESP, edição fac-similar, 1984.
- Rodrigues, Ada Natal.O Dialeto Caipira na Região de Piracicaba , Editora Ática, 1974.
- (Portuguese) "O Dialeto Caipira", by Amadeu Amaral
- (Portuguese) "Histórias do Zeca Tira 2 – 'As Pinga'", by Adelmario Sampaio – a sample of the caipira dialect in written form