Irantxe (Iranxe, Iranshe), also known as Münkü (Mỹky), is an indigenous American language that is spoken in Mato Grosso, Brazil, by about 200 people. It is generally left unclassified due to lack of data. The most recent descriptions treat it as a language isolate, saying that it "bears no similarity with other language families" (Arruda 2003), though this may not be based on new data (Monserrat 2010).
The 250 Irantxe (Iránxe, Iranche, Manoki, Munku) have largely assimilated to Brazilian culture. Most are monolingual in Portuguese, and Irantxe speakers are over 50 years old. A splinter group, the Mỹky (Mynky, Münkü, Munku, Menku, Kenku, Myy), however, moved to escape assimilation, and were isolated until 1971. As of 2003, there were 38 people in the Mỹky village, but not all were ethnic Mỹky, and the others were monolingual in Portuguese. Among the Mỹky, however, the language is being passed on to children.
Monserrat (2010) is a well-reviewed grammar.
Monserrat posits a series of palatalized stops. For several reasons, however, reviewer D’Angelis (2011) suggests these are simply /Cj/ sequences.
/m/ is optionally [mb] word initially, especially among the Irantxe: muhu [mbuhu], mjehy [mbjɛhɨ]. /s/ is pronounced [ʃ] before /j/. [r] and [l] are in free variation.
There are 28 vowels: Seven qualities, /i ɨ u ɛ ə ɔ a/, all appear long, short, and nasalized. The schwa, however, alternates with /ɛ/ in many words.
Syllables may be CjVC, though words may not end in a consonant. The role of tone is not clear.
- D’Angelis, Wilmar. 2011. Review of Monserrat (2010). LIAMES – Línguas Indígenas Ameríndias, vol 10.
- Monserrat, Ruth. 2010. A lingua do povo Myky
- Anonby, Stan. 2009. A Report on the Irantxe and Myky.
- Fabre, Alain. 2005. Diccionario etnolingüístico y guía bibliográfica de los pueblos indígenas sudamericanos: Iránxe.
- Arruda, Rinaldo. 2003. Iranxe Manoki. Instituto Socioambiental.
- Dixon & Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald (eds.), The Amazonian languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-57021-2.
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